Graphic Tools Archive:

This is an example of why you keep checking back on mediocre data visualization tools. The last time I looked at the OECD’s explorer, it was slow, kinda clunky, and not very innovative. This morning I took another look. Wow! It has interactive choropleth maps, motion scatter plots, profile plots, time graphs, and cool histogram tools – and all of them have excellent filters and fine tuning controls, can be viewed over time, are smoothly animated and you’re allowed to load your own data.

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But wait! There’s more! MUCH more! It turns out the explorer is just one tool created by the Swedish National Center for Visual Analytics (NCVA), who have constructed a set of Geovisual Analytics Visualization (GAV) Flash tools, including what you need to create your own statistics explorer.  The NCVA also has a spin-off company that sells a desktop version of the explorer, a Flow Map explorer that draws proportionate arrows on maps to track flows, and a multi-dimensional explorer (which I only played with a little – but is very very cool).

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Check out the scatter tables in the MDIM as a way to select data in the other two panels:

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I’m almost embarrassed I haven’t seen these before. On the other hand, I love that there is such innovation going on – all the time.

Ushahidi is a non-profit tech developer of free and open source software for collecting and real-time visualization crowd-sourced information. The project originated in a desire to map post-election violence in Kenya back in 2008 – but it has since expanded into a number of free toolsets that can be set up quickly during emergencies. To be honest, I haven’t dived too deep into this, but I wanted to post it in case others have a need.

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Wow! The excellent online thematic map software Indiemapper is now free.  Unfortunately, this decision appears to go hand in hand with one to reduce future development – which means we aren’t likely to see easy excel integration anytime soon (always a drawback in my mind).  The features that are there, however, are beautifully integrated. The method for assigning classed and unclassed color ranges using an interactive histogram, for example, should be a model for other software; and the ease with which you can switch map projections is almost magical.

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Based on a survey of 180 designers and creative professionals. This is a good reference for new tools to play with if you’re not happy with what you’re using now. The most glaring omission I see is Sugarsync for storage – it’s like Dropbox, but with greater flexibility. (via)

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A well annotated graphic from the NYT. Over at Visual Journalism, they point out the design differences between the print and online versions of this graphic.

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online version:
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As excellent article over at the Guardian about the rise of data journalism and what it takes to do it right.

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An excellent list from Computerworld, with good descriptions of each, including pros and cons. My favorites are Data Wrangler, Google Refine (which I had never heard of before), and Timeflow.  Thanks to D2 for the link!

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I receive a lot of emails asking what tools can be used to move past excel and create cool charts. Well, here’s one: ezViz is a very affordable ($79) desktop data visualization analysis tool that has many of the same cool features as much more expensive products such as Tableau and Spotfire. Starting with an excel spreadsheet you can easily assign variables to chart attributes, filter, and drill down through your data. Chart types include heatmaps, scatter bubbles, maps, and surface plots, among others. Watch the video and read the manual to see some of the nifty features included. Tableau and Spotfire are awesome and more powerful products, obviously, but they have priced themselves so far out of the reach of researchers and analysts that it’s nice to see a product like this fill in the gap a little.

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