As a public policy professional, I consume and manipulate a ton of data. Unfortunately, as a government employee, I often do not have access to the latest data tools. There tend to be many layers of approval and cost restrictions. Therefore, I am really excited to give Datawrapper a try here on my own website. It offers an extensive free service that I want to explore with public data.

Today I was able to follow the easy instructions to install the Datawrapper Plugin on my WordPress-based website. Even without much website experience, the installation was easy. Then I decided to build a map in Datawrapper using data I have been looking at published by the Maryland Longitudinal Data Center for one of their data dashboards. I am really excited about their data, but I feel like I have to manipulate it myself to understand it. The map below is me just dipping my toe into the water to understand the data and how to use Datawrapper.

The map shows the percentage of public high school graduates from 2011-2012 that enrolled in college at any point after high school graduation. I was looking at 2011-2012 graduates because I am also interested in the number/percentage that graduated from college by age 25. I will likely examine the college graduation data in a future post.

It was really easy to upload the data into Datawrapper, I already had it in an Excel file. The map below was created in a few minutes. I did have an issue with getting the data to display using the percent symbol. I will have to see if there is a way to get the percent symbol to display using the program.

I am not sure about the choices I made regarding the scale and colors for the map. I want to make a bunch of maps and graphs to publish here on my website to explore how best to represent the data.

Overall I am really excited that I was able to quickly make a professional-looking map. I am looking forward to testing its capabilities and seeing if I can learn any insights about the data.