Visually comparing data with Swipe maps

We provide our customers with a vast collection of the most current and relevant data from multiple trusted sources, ranging from the U.S. Census Bureau to Eurostat. Social Explorer is a data tool that goes far beyond simple data access – we have created a tool that helps you visualize the data that you’re interested in, providing you with a bigger picture and helping you compare different variables on the same geographies visually.

Social Explorer’s comparison tools

In addition to helping you visualize data, Social Explorer supports a couple of additional viewing modes: Swipe and Side by Side. These modes allow you to compare two different variables or even a single variable in different points in time. Let’s take this feature for a spin, shall we?

Selecting the first variable

  1. In the Change data menu, click Change data.  
  2. In the Categories tab, select 2017 as the year.  
  3. In the category picker, click Income. 
  4. Scroll down to the Household Income (In 2017 Inflation Adjusted Dollars) – Cumulative (More) section.
  5. Select variable More than $60K.

Selecting the second variable

Now that we’ve selected the first variable, let’s go ahead and select the second one.

  1. In the bottom-right corner of the screen, click on the Change map view icon .
  2. Select the Swipe or Side by Side mode.

For this example, we will use the Swipe mode. Your window is now divided into two halves, and both halves are displaying the first variable, so let’s change the variable displayed in the right-hand half.

  1. In the right-hand half of the window, click Change data in the Change data menu.
  2. Select the Education category. 
  3. In the Highest Educational Attainment for Population 25 Years and Over, select the Bachelor’s Degree or More variable.

Now, the differences are not immediately visible on the national level, so let’s zoom in on the county level and check the updated data.

  1. On both sides, click on Change geography level in the Change data menu.
  2. Select County
  3. Type Bronx County in the search bar and click on the result.
  4. Click the swipe toggle in the middle of the screen and drag it left and right. 

You can now directly save search results as annotations. Type your location of interest in the search box, select an entry and you will be immediately presented with the “Save as annotation” option for your search result. To find out more about annotations, check out this guide.

When you compare Bronx County with the surrounding counties, especially New York County, you will notice a correlation between education and income. Keep in mind that this is just one example of using the tool, so make sure you look around and do some research of your own.

If you’re not too happy with the visualization you’ve just created, Social Explorer allows you to choose from a wealth of predefined color palettes to personalize your map.

  1. Click Change visualization type in the Change data menu.
  2. Select Change color palette.
  3. Choose the color palette that works best with your dataset.

Or, click Style the visualization in the map legend and follow the same steps.

You can also create a custom color palette if none of the predefined palettes meet your needs.

The default visualization type for both the variables we used so far is Shaded area, but remember that you can always change the visualization type with just a few clicks.

  1. Click Change visualization type in the Change data menu. 
  2. Select the visualization type that works best for your data.

You can further customize both the Bubble and Dot Density visualizations.