Data visualization has assumed an essential role in helping us understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Charts and graphs have become a fixture in almost every press release, news article, and social media post about COVID-19. This is not without reason. Data visualization helps us explore, make sense of, and communicate with data. It allows us to see patterns and make comparisons more easily than using raw text and numbers.
The ubiquity of pandemic data visualization has been aided by the abundance of open data, accessible visualization tools, and social media. Just about anyone can download a dataset, create their own charts, and share them with the world. This has enabled journalists, analysts, and healthcare professionals to take advantage of data visualization to support their messaging and educate the public.
As analytics specialists, we at ClickInsight are familiar with many tools for visualization including Excel, Google Sheets, and Tableau. However, our favourite and most frequently used tool is Google Data Studio. Since Data Studio is free, entirely cloud-based, and integrates well with many data sources, it is a perfect tool for creating and sharing visualizations of public COVID-19 data. In the rest of this post, we will take a look at 3 examples of COVID-19 reports in Data Studio.
Trends of New Daily Cases
This report shows the trend of new daily COVID-19 cases broken down by country and region. There are separate pages in the report that focus on the global level (by country), the United States (by state), Canada (by province/territory), and Ontario (by health region). The use of small multiple charts with a varying y-axis range allows the shape of each region’s trend to be clearly seen and compared. The datasets for this report are stored in BigQuery and are brought into Data Studio using the native BigQuery connector.
Cumulative Cases and Deaths per Million Population
In this interactive report, the spread in COVID-19 is compared across a selection of countries of interest. The line chart at left shows cumulative COVID-19 cases and deaths per million population. Using optional metrics, you can switch the chart between cases and deaths. The table at right shows the full detail for each country, including total cases, deaths, and population. Data blending is used to join the underlying datasets for COVID-19 and world population to calculate rates per population. The table can be re-sorted by clicking on each of the metric headers. You can also filter the line chart for a specific countries by selecting rows in the table.
Community Mobility Reports
During the pandemic, Google has made available its Community Mobility Reports, which show trends in physical movement inferred from aggregate Google location data. The mobility data is available for many countries and regions around the world. In this Data Studio report, the mobility trends for each province in Canada are compared and contrasted. Google’s Mobility Reports dataset is hosted as a public dataset in BigQuery, and this report uses the native BigQuery connector to access the data.
We hope that these examples inspire you to explore Data Studio yourself. Although useful for visualizing the pandemic, the techniques used in the reports above are transferable to almost any type of data.
What would you like to visualize in Data Studio? Let us know in the comments!
Complete list of posts in our 2020 Data Studio series:
1. Visualizing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Google Data Studio (this post)
2. Creating a Google Analytics Dashboard in One Click
3. Using Google Maps in Data Studio
4. Visualizing BigQuery Public Datasets in Data Studio
5. Measuring Web Vitals – Part 2: Monitoring in Data Studio
6. Using Parameters in Data Studio
7. How to Style Links in Data Studio
8. Using Filter Controls in Data Studio
9. Extracting a Theme from an Image in Data Studio
10. Building a Google Analytics 4 Dashboard in Data Studio
11. How to Convert Text to Dates in Google Data Studio
12. 12 Tips for Enhancing Your Tables in Data Studio