The CIO of the USA has put an interesting tool for looking at spending in the US at www.usaspending.gov. It looks pretty whizbang. I haven't checked the data available etc. and what is under the hood, hopefully it has a good signal to noise ratio. I put a little chill Moby into the soundtrack. Watching the govt spend is anxiety inducing enough. The video doesn't show much of a story, just the widgets at work.
For those interested in making videos, windows movie maker is probably on your PC via Microsoft and camstudio video screen capture software is available free. Here are the steps to animate an excel series
- Load a data series and chart into excel
- Open up the developer section and put in a For loop to increment the appropriate variable
- In the For loop tell excel to "activate the chart worksheet" which will recalculate it. you can play with recording you actions to see the code for this.
- Run the loop while record the chart region of the screen with Cam studio running
- Excel is usually so slow updated charts that you can capture the motion
- Import the CamStudio AVI file into windows moviemaker
- Create your relevant information slides in powerpoint as graphic stills( titles pictures etc.).
- In powerpoint use the saveas:picture setting to export the still frames
- import the pictures into movie maker
- For extra speed adjustments in the excel video clip use the half speed, or double speed effect in Windows MovieMaker
- Season with music to taste by importing MP3 etc into windows movie maker
- Upload to video sharing site of your choice
This sounds complicated, but it takes 7-15 minutes once you get the hang of it and can bring data to life for many people. It is a great way to understand data as relationships or time unfold.