So I have been experimenting with a software package called Tableau for a little bit. For those of you who do not know what Tableau is, it is a software tool that can automate data visualizations. Many businesses use Tableau to create dashboards, maps, etc. It has a hefty price tag but if you are a student you can get a year-long license for free. With Tableau you can upload data from a variety of sources such as Excel, SQL, text files, and so on. Today I will show you how to create an animated map with Tableau.
First you will need to format and clean up your data. The beauty of Tableau is that you do not have to use longitude and latitude as location coordinates. You can simply use the state and city names to map out locations. I also had to change format the start time and end time from general numbers to date format (year start and year end). I also had to use an excel plugin in order to format pre-1900s dates: http://j-walk.com/ss/excel/files/xdate.htm
Step 1:Open a new Tableau Workbook
Best book that I know for Tableau is Communicating Data with Tableau