Building a census data application in no time flat

Daniel Mintz & Catherine Aurelio, Chief Data Evangelist & Director of UX and Design

Aug 9, 2016

If anyone is wondering what kind of interactive data applications you can build when you have a powerful data platform like Looker available, today we’ve got a great, easy example.

Today we’re launching Explore the Census". It’s a really lean example of how you can turn an interesting analysis into an engaging, polished data story that’s Powered by Looker.

We downloaded and groomed a bunch of fascinating data from the U.S. Census, dug into what it could tell us about home ownership from 1994 - 2014, and visualized the results. We found some fascinating facts, but wanted to present them in a way that anybody could understand and interact with.

With just a little bit of web design, a jQuery plugin, and Powered by Looker’s embedding, we were able to turn some disconnected analyses into a whole data story that makes it easy for anyone to zoom in on their state to explore the data.

You might be thinking, “Ok, but I’ve seen things like this before, what makes this one special?”

Creating custom data applications is usually an arduous process, with lots of data preparation, custom data visualization, and little reusability. Explore The Census was done -- from analysis to design to deployment -- with less than a week’s work.

And now that we’ve got the first one wired up, this design is completely reusable. Adding additional stories, which we’ll be doing over the coming weeks and months, is a few hours of work.

So if you want to make your analyses more engaging and more accessible -- to turn interesting findings into compelling data stories and engaging data applications -- we think this is a great place to start.

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