Golden Software Blog

Helping you learn more about the latest product information, tips, tricks, techniques, and customer stories so you can visualize data and communicate results with ease.

Visualizing Holiday Travel Statistics with Grapher and MapViewer

Now that Christmas is just days away, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve fully entered into peak holiday travel time. If you’re travelling this holiday season, I don’t have any good advice for how to beat the security lines or what to do if your luggage is lost, but if you’re interested in some fun graphics based on factual data, look no further! I found a gold-mine of data at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and plotted up a few graphs and maps from data that I found interesting.

 

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Predicting Local Precipitation and Temperature from Oceanic Niño Index

It seems that this year is one of the colder and wetter years in my recent memory, at least in Colorado. Several ski areas have stayed open or have reopened every weekend past the original closing date because of additional snow fall. At least one ski area was still open this June, which is traditionally biking, hiking, and mountain climbing season. Trail Ridge Road in early June reportedly had 20 foot deep snowbanks in places, which is some of the highest I can remember. I recall back in the spring hearing about winter 2016 being one of the strongest El Niño years. So, I began to wonder, did we receive more precipitation this year because of the El Niño? Does Colorado normally receive more precipitation in El Niño years? And, because I love to see actual data and graphs “proving” the results, how can I visualize this?

I started by collecting precipitation data from NOAA for the entire state of Colorado. The data only went through the end of April, 2016 so I wasn’t able to evaluate the last 6 weeks of data. I compiled the data from 1950 to 2016, using only the data from January through the end of April. I then separated the data into El Niño years, La Niña years, and Normal years, based on the oceanic niño index information. I then created a bar chart in Grapher displaying the data. I was surprised to discover that it didn’t seem to affect precipitation over the entire state whether the ocean temperatures were cool (blue bars) or warm (red bars).

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A Graphical Look at the 2016 Kentucky Derby

A Graphical Look at the 2016 Kentucky Derby

The 142nd annual Run for the Roses, better known as the Kentucky Derby, took place this past weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. The race for 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses began in 1875 and takes place annually at Churchill Downs. Each year horses compete in 35 preliminary races for 1 of 20 coveted spots in the Derby.

Location of the Kentucky Derby, base map created in Surfer 13.

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Graphing America’s Favorite Pastime

Graphing America’s Favorite Pastime

Baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes. The game has experienced very few changes since its inception in 1845 and is filled with numerous traditions. No game is complete without the staples of peanuts, hot dogs, and beer, and it’s expected even the most tone-deaf of viewers will sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch. I get goosebumps just thinking of it!

Today is a special day for Colorado Rockies fans as it’s our home opener. Opening Day, an unofficial holiday, is a wildly celebrated event for baseball fans across the states. This day is celebrated with parades, tailgate parties, and numerous special events at local bars and pubs.

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Graphing the Growing Season

Graphing the Growing Season

Spring bulbs are beginning to bloom, and with each reminder that spring is on the way I think more about starting my vegetable garden. Every gardener knows that the question of when to plant is always a struggle.  Maximizing the growing season while minimizing plant loss due to surprise cold snaps and frosts is always a balancing act. Living at high elevations can make this even more difficult, so I decided to do some research and see if I could get a better picture of what my garden and I are up against. 

The first thing I needed to find was information about the temperature tolerances for vegetables.  I found a great table at the Colorado State University Extension that provided acceptable germination temperatures as well as information on how temperature-hardy the young plants are.  I created a floating bar chart in Grapher 12 to depict this information.

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