Improving your Communication of Geographic Data

Visualizing geographic data on a map is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways to communicate data to an audience. Our knowledge of states, regions, and territories helps us spot trends faster and better than a simple table or bar chart containing the same data.

However, not all maps are created equal. There are simple ways to improve the way we visualize geographic data that can make our message pop more and better communicate the information to our audience.

As an example, Take a look at the below two maps . The left is from CNBC visualizing median…


DS in the Real World

So you want to open an Ice Cream shop…

You’ve opened a business and it’s grown. You opened one or two more locations in places that you thought would be a good fit; maybe you’re Starbucks and have opened thousands more. One of the most important questions a retail entrepreneur or business faces is where to open the next location. Some larger businesses have location scouts whose sole responsibility is to grow the business; many don’t.

A previous article I wrote on predicting Starbucks’ future locations prompted a reach out from an entrepreneur that was going through just this challenge — Where should they open the next location for…


Tips for Communicating Data to Non-Technical Colleagues

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The ability to analyze and model data has improved dramatically over the past decade, but our ability to communicate it has not. Data science bootcamps and programs have sprung up promising 6-figure jobs in exchange for learning to code. For many analysts, though, coding is only the start.

There’s a person on the other end of the project that wants to make business sense of the analysis and can’t understand when we talk about analytics concepts like p-values or Random Forest models.


Analyzing COVID-19’s Impact on Housing Prices in Major Cities

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Boston’s South End neighborhood

Four years ago I moved to Boston for my first job, fresh-faced and ready to experience the city. I quickly followed the millennial trajectory of paying too much for a too-small apartment in the heart of the city. I traded off space and conveniences for access.

I could walk 10 minutes to work, 15 minutes to Fenway Park, and 20 minutes to the Boston Public Garden. I was surrounded by energy. Across the US, cities grew because people, entertainment, and jobs coalesced in these areas to create that energy.

Then, COVID happened. Many of the things that made city life…


Data Science in the Real World

You don’t need to be a Tableau or PowerPoint power user to do it.

Data visualization is the most powerful way to communicate data to both technical and non-technical audiences. It’s also the most “taken-for-granted” component of analytics. Few analysts have formal training in data visualization best practices.

Exacerbating the problem is that the default options in applications like PowerPoint and Excel are poorly designed; they’re viewed as acceptable or preferred when they should be seen as a starting point.

The purpose of data visualization is to allow the viewer to quickly and easily pull out the most important information from the data. I’ve found it frustratingly difficult to find a non-Textbook resource that…


Measuring Physical, Personal, and National Development over the past century

I recently came across a compelling work of data visualization published by the New York Times. The author sought to prove a point that performance had peaked in men’s speed skating and more broadly in other Olympic sports too.

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Source: New York Times

This got me thinking…is the finding true only in purely physical metrics or does it ring true in other areas too? Where are we approaching the limit of progress and where do we still have room to grow?

A difficult question is how to measure progress — What are the right metrics? What do we (or should we) value as a…


Visualizing the FY2021 US Government Budget and Current Financial State

Have you ever wondered where your tax dollars go? How the government makes money?

Recently, President Trump released the FY2021 government budget. Politics takes over as Democrats jump on the massive spending and defense budget as irresponsible and unsustainable and Republicans praise the budget as an economic stimulus.

What’s the real story? What does the data say? Where is the money coming from and going? What is the fiscal State of the Union?

Use this dashboard to interact with the data yourself and read on for more details.

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Just how do the services select their price?

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Several streaming services have recently launched, each at a variety of price points and with different options. Some offer unlimited access with no advertisements while others offer a lower cost ad-supported version. Some have access to high-quality premium content that consumers value more while others have high quantity but lower quality.

Each service sets a price that they believe will maximize their objective. For Netflix, the objective might be revenue, profit, and / or growth. For Apple or Amazon, content is a gateway to locking a customer into their product ecosystem. …


A case study with Insurance Analytics

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Opening a data set for the first time can be challenging and exciting. Turning raw data into insights is part of what I enjoy most about analytics, but it can also be overwhelming. Where should you start? Which analyses should you run? How do you ensure that what you do has a tangible business impact?

A strong initial analysis doesn’t necessarily give you the answers, but it informs which questions you should be asking next.

The data set deals with agency performance for a set of property and casualty insurance agencies. The data contains, among other things, a list of…


…and why $1.5T is only the start of the Student Loan problem

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The average student loan borrower is more than $30,000 in debt. Maybe this represents your situation, maybe it doesn’t. Regardless, the repercussions of student debt touch every person because the impact of these loans can mean more than $4,000 owed per taxpaying American and significant headwinds to annual growth.

An extra $350 in student loan payments — the approximate payment for an average borrower — is less money injected into a local economy through eating out or shopping locally; it’s less trips that support tourism-driven regions; it’s less money saved for retirement.

Education is an investment that pays off over…

Jordan Bean

Analytics Professional, Data Enthusiast, and MSBA candidate; www.linkedin.com/in/jordanbean

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