Using Google Data Studio for Data Visualization and Exploration

Data Studio is use for data visualization and as a reporting tool. It was created by Google in 2016. And it has gained a lot of traction from Data Scientists, Analysts, and Sales and Marketing Experts.

Data Studio is completely free. There’s no paid version of it. You can use it as an alternative to paid reporting tools such as Tableau and Power BI.

Data Studio is cloud-based:

It’s accessible through any browser and an internet connection. The reports you create are saved automatically into Google Data Studio framework, so they’re available anytime and anywhere. No worries about losing the files.

There are many pre-built templates in Data Studio, allowing you to create beautiful dashboards full of charts quickly and easily. It’s very easy to share reports and dashboards with your internal / external teams if they have a Google account. It enables collaboration within business groups.

With Data Studio, you can connect, analyze, and present data from different sources. You don’t even need to be tech-savvy or know programming languages to get started with Data Studio.

Google Data Studio: Data sources and connectors:

Every time you want to create a report, first, you’ll need to create a data source. It’s important to note that data sources are not your original data. To clarify and avoid confusion, see the explanation below:

  • The original data, such as data in a Google spreadsheet, MySQL database, LinkedIn, YouTube, or data stored in other platforms and services, is called a dataset.
  • To link a report to the dataset, you need a data connector to create a data source.
  • The data source maintains the information of the connection credential. And it keeps track of all the fields that are part of that connection.  
  • You can have multiple data sources connected to a dataset, and this may come in handy when collaborating with different team members. For example, you may want to share data sources with different connection capabilities for different team members.

When Data Studio was first released, there were only six Google-based data sources you could connect to. But a lot has changed since then! 

As of this writing, there are 400+ connectors to access your data from 800+ datasets. Besides Google Connectors, there are also Partner Connectors (third-party connectors). 

In the example below we’ll go through US Office Equipment Sample Dataset to visualize different charts representing the data.

  • Open Google Data Studio from your browser by using this link.
  • Click Create button on the left
  • Open a connection to the data source of interest. In our case, we’ll use this link to the CSV file Dataset.

File Upload / Locate File:

  • Upload CSV file
  • On the next screen, you will be presented with a data file schema for the uploaded CSV file.
  • The data types can be changed on existing fields within the data file schema and new calculated fields added if needed.

CSV files are called Unmapped data because their contents are unknown in advance.

Analyze and Visualize the Data:

  • Add the data source and you will end up in the report canvas.
  • Use the appropriate charts from the Add Charts tool bar menu above to select the desire charts as shown below to create data visualization reports.

Quick Steps to Set Up Data Visualization on Google Data Studio:

  1. Open Data Studio.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the dashboard.
  3. Connect your first data source.
  4. Create your first report.
  5. Add some charts.
  6. Customize the formatting and add a title and captions.
  7. Share the report.

Conclusion:

Congratulations! We just went through how to create a Business Intelligence BI dashboard using Google Data Studio for visualizing and exploring a sample Office Equipment dataset.

Data Studio allows you to create beautiful dashboards full of charts quickly and easily. It’s very easy to use for sharing reports and dashboards with your internal/external teams if they have a Google account. It enables collaboration within business groups.

With Data Studio, you can connect, analyze, and present data from different sources. You don’t even need to be tech-savvy or know programming languages to get started with Data Studio.

Data Visualization Using Python

In this example we’ll perform different Data Visualization charts on Population Data. There’s an easy way to create visuals directly from Pandas, and we’ll see how it works in detail in this tutorial.

Install neccessary Libraries

To easily create interactive visualizations, we need to install Cufflinks. This is a library that connects Pandas with Plotly, so we can create visualizations directly from Pandas (in the past you had to learn workarounds to make them work together, but now it’s simpler) First, make sure you install Pandas and Plotly running the following commands on the terminal:

Install the following labraries in the this order – on Conda CMD prompt pip install pandas pip install plotly pip install cufflinks

Import the following Libraries

import pandas as pd
import cufflinks as cf
from IPython.display import display,HTML
cf.set_config_file(sharing='public',theme='ggplot',offline=True)

In this case, I’m using the ‘ggplot’ theme, but feel free to choose any theme you want. Run the command cf.getThemes() to get all the themes available. To create data visualization with Pandas in the following sections, we only need to use the syntaxdataframe.iplot().

The data we’ll use is a population dataframe. First, download the CSV file from Kaggle.com, move the file where your Python script is located, and then read it in a Pandas dataframe as shown below.

#Format year column to number with no decimals
df_population = pd.read_csv('documents/population/population.csv')
#use a list of indexes:
print(df_population.loc[[0,10]])
   country    year    population
0    China  2020.0  1.439324e+09
10   China  1990.0  1.176884e+09
print(df_population.head(10))
  country    year    population
0   China  2020.0  1.439324e+09
1   China  2019.0  1.433784e+09
2   China  2018.0  1.427648e+09
3   China  2017.0  1.421022e+09
4   China  2016.0  1.414049e+09
5   China  2015.0  1.406848e+09
6   China  2010.0  1.368811e+09
7   China  2005.0  1.330776e+09
8   China  2000.0  1.290551e+09
9   China  1995.0  1.240921e+09

This dataframe is almost ready for plotting, we just have to drop null values, reshape it and then select a couple of countries to test our interactive plots. The code shown below does all of this.

# dropping null values
df_population = df_population.dropna()
# reshaping the dataframe
df_population = df_population.pivot(index="year", columns="country", values="population")
# selecting 5 countries
df_population = df_population[['United States', 'India', 'China', 'Nigeria', 'Spain']]
print(df_population.head(10))
country  United States         India         China      Nigeria       Spain
year                                                                       
1955.0     171685336.0  4.098806e+08  6.122416e+08   41086100.0  29048395.0
1960.0     186720571.0  4.505477e+08  6.604081e+08   45138458.0  30402411.0
1965.0     199733676.0  4.991233e+08  7.242190e+08   50127921.0  32146263.0
1970.0     209513341.0  5.551898e+08  8.276014e+08   55982144.0  33883749.0
1975.0     219081251.0  6.231029e+08  9.262409e+08   63374298.0  35879209.0
1980.0     229476354.0  6.989528e+08  1.000089e+09   73423633.0  37698196.0
1985.0     240499825.0  7.843600e+08  1.075589e+09   83562785.0  38733876.0
1990.0     252120309.0  8.732778e+08  1.176884e+09   95212450.0  39202525.0
1995.0     265163745.0  9.639226e+08  1.240921e+09  107948335.0  39787419.0
2000.0     281710909.0  1.056576e+09  1.290551e+09  122283850.0  40824754.0

Lineplot

Let’s make a lineplot to compare how much the population has grown from 1955 to 2020 for the 5 countries selected. As mentioned before, we will use the syntax df_population.iplot(kind=’name_of_plot’) to make plots as shown below.

df_population.iplot(kind='line',xTitle='Years', yTitle='Population',
                    title='Population (1955-2020)')

Barplot

We can make a single barplot on barplots grouped by categories. Let’s have a look.

Single Barplot

Let’s create a barplot that shows the population of each country by the year 2020. To do so, first, we select the year 2020 from the index and then transpose rows with columns to get the year in the column. We’ll name this new dataframe df_population_2020 (we’ll use this dataframe again when plotting piecharts)

df_population_2020 = df_population[df_population.index.isin([2020])]
df_population_2020 = df_population_2020.T

Now we can plot this new dataframe with .iplot(). In this case, I’m going to set the bar color to blue using the color argument.

df_population_2020.iplot(kind='bar', color='blue',
                         xTitle='Years', yTitle='Population',
                         title='Population in 2020')

Barplot grouped by “n” variables

Now let’s see the evolution of the population at the beginning of each decade.

# filter years out
df_population_sample = df_population[df_population.index.isin([1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, 2020])]
# plotting
df_population_sample.iplot(kind='bar', xTitle='Years',
                           yTitle='Population')

Naturally, all of them increased their population throughout the years, but some did it at a faster rate.

Boxplot

Boxplots are useful when we want to see the distribution of the data. The boxplot will reveal the minimum value, first quartile (Q1), median, third quartile (Q3), and maximum value. The easiest way to see those values is by creating an interactive visualization. Let’s see the population distribution of the China.

df_population['China'].iplot(kind='box', color='green', 
                                     yTitle='Population')

Let’s say now we want to get the same distribution but for all the selected countries.

df_population.iplot(kind='box', xTitle='Countries',
                    yTitle='Population')

As we can see, we can also filter out any country by clicking on the legends on the right.

Histogram

A histogram represents the distribution of numerical data. Let’s see the population distribution of the USA and Nigeria.

df_population[['United States', 'Nigeria']].iplot(kind='hist',
                                                xTitle='Population')

Piechart

Let’s compare the population by the year 2020 again but now with a piechart. To do so, we’ll use the df_population_2020 dataframe created in the “Single Barplot” section. However, to make a piechart we need the “country” as a column and not as an index, so we use .reset_index() to get the column back. Then we transform the 2020 into a string.

# transforming data
df_population_2020 = df_population_2020.reset_index()
df_population_2020 =df_population_2020.rename(columns={2020:'2020'})
# plotting
df_population_2020.iplot(kind='pie', labels='country',
                         values='2020',
                         title='Population in 2020 (%)')

Scatterplot

Although population data is not suitable for a scatterplot (the data follows a common pattern), I would make this plot for the purposes of this guide. Making a scatterplot is similar to a line plot, but we have to add the mode argument.

df_population.iplot(kind='scatter', mode='markers')

Whaola! Now you’re ready to make your own beautiful interactive visualization with Pandas.