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This project will show you how to create your own Google Motion Chart to investigate and display how Amazon rainforest deforestation has changed over time.

Amazon Deforestation Data 2004-2014:

The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It covers roughly 40% of the South American continent and is in part of eight countries.

Tropical “rainforests grow in more than 50 countries but about half of the total is in just three: Brazil with 33%, and Zaire and Indonesia with 10% each,” and 57% of total is in Latin America. (National Wildlife Federation – Educator’s Guide)

More background information can be found at these sites:

A Motion Chart is a special kind of 'dynamic' chart that displays and compares up to five data sets and tracks them over the course of time:

Video 1. Example Data Visualisation Using Motion Charts (what is possible):

Create Your Own Deforestation Motion Chart:

PART 1. Create your own 'sheet' using the example data:

  1. Download the file your-name-amazon.csv (3.5kB) to your local workstation (or, if you prefer, download the older, simpler version of rainforests csv).
  2. Using the information supplied by your teacher, re-name that file.
  3. Using the information supplied by your teacher, upload your newly named file into the correct folder in your Google drive.
  4. Go to your Google drive, right-click on the newly uploaded file and select 'Open with' → 'Google Sheets'
  5. You should now have a new spreadsheet showing data imported from your file.
  6. Check the columns: The Timestamp data MUST be in column 'B' in second column (column B).

In case of problems, the column layout and format is the most likely culprit.

Here is an example of column entries for your example spreadsheet(s):

New version spreadsheet

New version of spreadsheet with pre-set bubble sizes & colours

SPREADSHEET SETUP NOTE: You may have to set the column format for the 'Timestamp' column and configure your spreadsheet for Australian 'timezone' and 'locale' (the timezone and locale are USA by default).


Old version spreadsheet

Old version of spreadsheet - manually set bubble sizes & colours

Figure 1. Google Sheet showing Timestamp & Deforestation data for your-name-amazon.csv (3.5kB)

PART 2. Create your 'chart' using the 'sheet' that you created (above):

  1. From the sheet menu, click on: Insert → Chart (see Fig 2).
  2. From the 'Chart Editor' menu, scroll down and click on the Motion Chart icon. The icon and bubbles will first appear grey (see Fig 3). When you click on the icon, then the bubbles will be coloured).
  3. Click on the blue [Insert] button (bottom left-hand corner of the motion chart screen), to save the chart into it's own sheet (see Fig 4 & Fig 5).

Screen-shots of 'sheet' and 'chart' (motion-chart) setup:

Click on any image to zoom it to full size:

Fig 2Fig 3
Fig 2: Select 'Insert' → 'Chart' Fig 3: Select 'Motion chart' icon, then click 'Insert'

Fig 4Fig 5
Fig 4: Click on 'Move to own sheet' Fig 5: Click on triangle (Play) button at bottom left!

Your motion chart should now appear as 'Chart 1' at the bottom of your sheet.

  1. Click on the 'Chart 1' tab to open your chart.
  2. Choose your own 'Color' and 'Size' settings and play your chart (see 'MORE DETAIL' below).

Download A Forest (or Other) Data Set From The Internet:

Find and download a wide range of data sets, visit this site http://datahub.io/dataset and search for 'forest' (for example):

Download Data

Example screen grab of datahub.io search results:

Look for an item that has [CSV] or [XLS] that you can click on to download data - clicking on the [CSV] or [XLS] button will take you to a page where you can preview and/or download that data.

For some locations it is possible to separately download and then combine two or three data files of the same type.

About The Example Data:

A real example - how satellite data can be used

learn/rainforests/home.txt · Last modified: 10/07/2019/ 13:49 (external edit)