Tutorial: How to Use a Motion Chart

Motion Charts (developed using Google Visualization API) offer a multi-dimensional analysis of multiple metrics - an interactive way to explore and visualize a significant amount of data all at once by plotting data in four different dimensions over time.

  • Once the Motion Chart loads, you will see a collection of bubbles. Each bubble represents one of the elements that is being explored in the "select" box.
    • In this example, a bubble denotes a different country.

motion chart tutorial

  • Metrics and variables are represented by the X-axis (horizontal), Y-axis (vertical), Bubble Color, Bubble Size. Each dimension has a drop down menu you can select from to change the elements you want to compare.
    • In this example, the chart compares corn crops planted (x-axis) vs corn crop yield (y-axis). The bubble color represents annual precipitation and the bubble size indicates the number of farms. All variables are available for each dimension.

Motion Chart Tutorial

  • Once you select the metrics, point your mouse over any bubble to see the numeric value for each variable.
  • To highlight a specific bubble (state, in this example), select that state in the Select box on the right hand side or double-click on a specific bubble.

motion chart tutorial

  • Click “Play" button at the bottom of the chart to see how the variables perform over time.
    • Slide the "Playback Speed" button up and down to change the speed of the motion.
    • Drag the slider on the timeline to show a specific year.
  • Select a bubble and check the “Trails” box underneath the Select box to map out the bubble’s movement over time.

motion chart tutorial

  • Additional interactive features:
    • Visualize the data as a bar or line graph.
    • Choose between linear or log scale for the x and y axis.
    • Select "Tool Tips" for zoom and opacity settings.

motion chart tutorial

For further information on Motion Charts, see Google Visualization API