Data Visualization Toolkit Using JavaScript, Rails, and Postgres to Present Data and Geospatial Information

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/18/2016
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
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Create Beautiful Visualizations that Free Your Data to Tell Powerful Truths

“The depth of Barrett Clark’s knowledge shines through in his writing: clear, concise, and confident. Barrett has been practicing all of this stuff in his day job for many years–Postgres, D3, GIS, all of it. The knowledge in this book is real-world and hard-earned!”

–From the Foreword by Obie Fernandez

Data Visualization Toolkit is your hands-on, practical, and holistic guide to the art of visualizing data. You’ll learn how to use Rails, jQuery, D3, Leaflet, PostgreSQL, and PostGIS together, creating beautiful visualizations and maps that give your data a voice and to make it “dance.”


Barrett Clark teaches through real-world problems and examples developed specifically to illuminate every technique you need to generate stunningly effective visualizations. You’ll move from the absolute basics toward deep dives, mastering diverse visualizations and discovering when to use each. Along the way, you’ll build three start-to-finish visualization applications, using actual real estate, weather, and travel datasets.


Clark addresses every component of data visualization: your data, database, application server, visualization libraries, and more. He explains data transformations; presents expert techniques in JavaScript, Ruby, and SQL; and illuminates key concepts associated with both descriptive statistics and geospatial data. Throughout, everything is aimed at one goal: to help you cut through the clutter and let your data tell all it can.


This guide will help you

  • Explore and understand the data visualization technology stack
  • Master the thought process and steps involved in importing data
  • Extract, transform, and load data in usable, reliable form
  • Handle spotty data, or data that doesn’t line up with what your chart expects
  • Use D3 to build pie and bar charts, scatter and box plots, and more
  • Work effectively with time-series data
  • Tweak Ruby and SQL to optimize performance with large datasets
  • Use raw SQL in Rails: window functions, subqueries, and common table expressions
  • Build chord diagrams and time-series aggregates
  • Use separate databases or schema for reporting databases
  • Integrate geographical data via geospatial SQL queries
  • Construct maps with Leaflet and Rails
  • Query geospatial data the “Rails way” and the “raw SQL way”

Author Biography

Barrett Clark is a Rubyist turned polyglot software developer. Now at Sabre Labs, an emerging travel technology incubator and research lab, Clark works to make meaningful change in the travel industry. He has worked extensively with mapping, geolocation, indoor location, and proximity. His recent speaking engagements include Mountain West Ruby Conference, API World, Mountain West Ruby Conference, and RailsConf.

Table of Contents

Part I: ActiveRecord and D3


  Chapter 1: D3 and Rails

  Chapter 2: Transforming Data with ActiveRecord and D3

  Chapter 3: Working with Time Series Data

  Chapter 4: Working with Large Datasets


Part II: Using SQL In Rails


  Chapter 5: Window Functions, Subqueries, and Common Table Expression

  Chapter 6: The Chord Diagram

  Chapter 7: Time-Series Aggregates in Postgres

  Chapter 8: Using a Separate Reporting Database


Part III: Geospatial Rails


  Chapter 9: Working with Geospatial Data in Rails

  Chapter 10: Making Maps with Leaflet and Rails

  Chapter 11: Querying Geospatial Data


  Appendix A: Ruby and Rails Setup

  Appendix B: Brief Postgres Overview

  Appendix C: SQL Joins

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