Data Viz | 2015

Where did all the time go?

Visualizing how I spent my time in college


Information Design class assignment

The Challenge

Create any sort of mapping visualization (not necessarily geo-mapping)


Independent project

The Outcome

Where Did All the Time Go? is a basic interactive webpage mapping the time I spent across all of my activities in college, broken down by organizations. The data is extracted from a Google Calendar using the GCal2Excel tool. I was inspired by the personal data collection of Nick Felton.

I particularly appreciated this assignment, as it transformed how I thought about mapping and how it relates to data visualization. Prior to this assignment, I thought about maps only in relation to geography. This project allowed me to explore the more abstract meaning of a map as any sort of diagrammatic representation/relation of one thing to another. After some brainstorming, I chose to map the relationship in how I spent my time across activities, rather than focusing on any physical or geographic relationships.

When I started, I hoped to redo this project using D3 and JSON to make this more dynamic and update the aesthetic. 3 years after I initially did this project, I finally got around to it, which is up now in it's final form.

Acquire and Prepare Data

I started the practice of keeping extremely detailed and comprehensive Google calendars in high school to stay on top of a number of different activities I was involved with. The practice extended into college, so I had a holistic representation of all planned activity time since freshman year in calendar form. I used GCal2Excel to export my calendar time data into Excel.

Explore, Form, and Validate Hypotheses

The trends I wanted to explore where related to how my involvement in activities shifted over time and across seasons, so I wanted to do a stacked chart of some variety. To better manage the data, I grouped hours by monthly amounts and chose to present it as a stacked bar chart instead of stacked line graphs.

Represent and Refine Findings

The final stacked bar chart made it easy to see how my involvement in activities varied, especially in relation to the academic year. My summers were largely spent on my internship, and there were predictable bumps and spikes for "heavy" months on some of my activities.

Version 1.0

I was challenged on how to show trends for heavy months across all activities in isolation. Due to time constraints and limited coding skills ability at the time, my "hack" solution to produce an MVP was to use some Javascript to show and hide layers of activities as they are selected. Version 2.0, as seen above, was done 3 years later with D3.js and has a much cleaner aesthetic.