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Time Series Visualization Using CARTO and Torque

December 20, 2015

Time Visualizations

One of the many interesting analytical possibilities with data captured in Fulcrum comes from the temporal nature of everything collected by teams in the field over time. Because all data captured in Fulcrum automatically records timestamp information when created or updated, this data could then be plotted to see collection patterns through the course of your projects, to see spatial distribution and the ebb and flow of data capture.

Torque for time series data visualization

CARTO provides a cloud-based spatial database for storing, mapping, and analyzing datasets, and Fulcrum data can be piped directly into CARTO for generating visualizations using their synced tables functionality. Within the CARTO Editor, you can stylize your data using different techniques like categorical symbology, choropleth maps, heat maps, clustering, binning, and more. But one of the coolest tools is Torque, their engine for creating animated temporal graphics to see data change over time. Any column in your data containing date or timestamp content can be used to drive the time series visualization.

Our friends at Desert Channels Queensland, a non-profit organization in Australia that uses Fulcrum to map locations of invasive and feral animals all throughout rural Queensland, with local farmers and ranchers capturing the data in Fulcrum. Over a couple of years they’ve logged over 7,000 sightings of feral dogs, wild pigs, rabbits, goats, and other types of species, and using Torque visualization lets you see patterns in how their contributors have been spotting wild dogs and where.

Torque visualizations can also be customized to symbolize data categorically or you can have the points persist on the map to build density maps over time:

Torque cumulative symbology

If you haven’t tried out CARTO, give it a try for creating interesting maps from the data you’re collecting with Fulcrum. Check out our guide on how to use Fulcrum’s data shares to sync data continuously into CARTO for driving web maps and publishing your results.