When you try to install some of the software below, you will be warned that it comes from an unknown developer. To override this warning and install the software, right-click and select
Our spreadsheet application for these classes will be Google Sheets. Use from your Google Drive account.
Some of the tools we will use are Chrome add-ons. Ensure that you have the latest version of this popular web browser.
For some exercises, you will need a text editor optimized for authoring web pages. These are both good options.
Your go-to resource for color schemes to encode data. Web app: no installation required.
Allows you to simulate the effects of three forms of colorblindness on your screen, to check that your charts and maps do not exclude the color-impaired. Download and move to your Applications folder. When launched, program icon will appear to the right of your menu bar. You can set to start at login under
The Public version of the software requires you to save your visualizations to the open web. However, members of Investigative Reporters and Editors can obtain a license for the Professional version, which allows you to save workbooks on your machine. In any case, I strongly recommend that J-School students join IRE as a student member: it is a leader for training in data journalism.
A powerful tool for data cleaning, once owned by Google, now open source. Download the version 2.8 from here. When launched, Open Refine will work in your default web browser; note that your data remains on your computer, and is not uploaded to the web.
A tool for extracting tables of data from digital PDFs. Downlaod from here. When launched, Tabula will work in your default web browser; again, your data remains on your computer, and is not uploaded to the web.
Allows you to convert tabular (spreadsheet/CSV) data to web-friendly formats including JSON. Web app: no installation required.
R is a software environment and programming language for statistical computing and graphics. Download the for OSX from here. R Studio provides a user interface that makes it much easier to use. Download the latest free version of RStudio Desktop from here.
Allows you to convert addresses to latitude and longitude coordinates. Web app: no installation required; however, you will need to sign up for API keys for the geocoding services it uses.
The leading open source Geographic Information System, which we will use to make maps and process geodata. Download version 3.0 from my website here, and download Python 3.6 from this link. First install Python 3.6, then install GDAL Complete from the QGIS Download, and finally install QGIS.
Web-based map design studio. Sign up here for a free Mapbox account.
ImageMagick is a software library for creating, editing, converting and manipulating images, including animated GIFs. FFmpeg is a software library that records and converts audio and video.
We will use them in conjunction with R to make animated graphics. They take some time to install, so it is important that you do this before class.
Here are the steps for installation:
Download and install Xcode.
About this Mac.
Open a Terminal window (find under
Applications>Utilities) and enter:
This will install Xcode’s command line tools, which are required for MacPorts, the installer we will use to install the two software libraries.
Download and install the correct version of MacPorts for your Mac OS.
In the Terminal, enter:
sudo port install ImageMagick
You will be required to enter your Mac password. The installation will take some time to complete. This is a good time to make a cup of coffee.
sudo port install ffmpeg