The time series maker

by Marco Bonvini on Sunday January 31, 2016

How many times you needed time series data to test an algorithm? When this happens, you usually have a clear idea of how the data should look like but you don’t know how to generate it. I came across this problem at least 100 times over the last years…

I tried every combination of the following tricks: interpolate values in tables, polynomials, sine waves, and step functions. As you can probably imagine I was never quite happy with the results and the time I spent generating these dummy data series was just too much.

A month ago while working on a separate post titled Energy analysis with Python I stumbled across the same problem, again. I needed to generate some fake energy data, I knew how I wanted the data to look like but I didn’t know how to create it. I was wondering “isn’t there a tool that allows you to draw the time series you want and let you export it in a convenient format?”. I looked around for a bit and the answer was no.

Well, at that point I decided to build my own tool, the Time Series Maker.

Here’s a short animation that shows how simple is to use the Time Series Maker. In case you’re interested the source code is available on GitHub.

Demo of the time series maker

These are the steps to generate your own time series

  • think hard about the time series you would like to generate
  • open a browser and go here
  • look at the grid, that’s where you’ll draw the time series
  • move the mouse pointer to the left of the grid where the time series should start
  • click the left button of your mouse and start drawing
  • keep the button pressed until you reach the end of the grid or you’re happy with what you’ve drawn so far
  • if you’re not happy, left click on the grid and start again
  • in case you’re happy, click on the buttons below to download the CSV or JSON version of your time series


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