Who are you?
I’m Maarten Lambrechts, a Belgian bio-engineer turned data journalist and visualization consultant.
What do you do?
By day, I’m a data and visual journalist at Mediafin, the publisher of Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo. I try to find stories in data and build static and interactive charts and maps.
Apart from my day job, I am a data visualization consultant. I give workshops and keynotes and I design visualizations and interactives for clients.
Apart from fieldwork, learning statistics and making maps where the things I most enjoyed at university. And I was lucky enough to be able to keep working with numbers and maps in the first years of my professional career. Then I stumbled upon the work of Edward Tufte and I learned about web technology. This drew me to the field of data visualization and online interactives. I like all parts of the datajournalistic proces (harvesting, cleaning, reshaping, …), but I specialise in visualization. Today, I mostly use R for the former steps and D3.js for the latter.
Are there any projects that are particularly dear to you?
My most successful datajournalistic project is probably ‘Do you live in an expensive neighbourhood?’ (Dutch version, French version), an interactive map of average real estate prices in the almost 20.000 Belgian neighbourhoods. I also produced static maps that were printed in a real estate special that was published with the Saturday editions of the newspapers. You can read a making of on my blog.
But the project closest to my heart is Rock ‘n Poll, an interactive story that explains uncertainty in (political) poll results. I believe strongly in explaining complex things visually and interactively and with Rock ‘n Poll I hope some people got a better understanding of polling without having to understand difficult statistical formulas.