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October 11, 2015

Dear Data Two | Week 25: Friends

I’m starting to fall a bit behind on the postcards again, but I have a good excuse. I’ve been preparing for four upcoming talks - two in Cincinnati this coming week and two at the Tableau Conference in Vegas. Excuses behind me, I went for a simple data collection method for learning about my friends.

I had a good idea in mind for what I wanted to do and I started by looking at all of my Facebook friends, the idea being that I wanted to create a map of where they all live. Unfortunately Facebook does not make it easy to get this information. The data preparation was going to take way too long, so I opted for looking at where my college friends Facebook live.

I entered all of their names and current locations in a spreadsheet and then added a second row for each person that was the location of our college, the awesome Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Don’t look at pictures of my college; you’ll get way too jealous.

I then took all of the locations and ran them through batch geocoder to generate lat/long values for each person. This allowed me to calculate the distance each friend has moved away since college. Duplicating the rows also allowed me to create lines connecting Eckerd College to each person.

For the postcard, there’s no way I could have drawn a dot for every person, so I aggregated some locations together and used size to represent each person or group of people. I intended to use shapes as well, as you can see on the front of the postcard, but I forgot once I got into drawing the card. Chalk another victory up for the design medium.