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nicola poletti

Data visualisation DIY: our top tools | News | - 1 views

  • Google fusion tables

    This online database and mapping tool has become our default for producing quick and detailed maps, especially those where you need to zoom in. You get all the high resolution of google maps but it can open a lot of data - 100mb of CSV, for instance. The first time you try it, Fusion tables may seem a little tricky - but stick with it.

  • Tableau Public

    If you don't need the unlimited space of the professional edition, this is free - and means you can make pretty complex visualisations simply and easily with up to 100,000 rows. We use it when we need to bring different types of charts together - as in this map of top tax rates around the world, which also has a bar chart too.

  • After something simple - like a bar or line chart, or a pie chart? You'll find that Google spreadsheets (which you create from the documents bit of your Google account) can create some pretty nice charts - including the animated bubbles used by Hans Rosling's Gapminder. Unlike the charts API you don't need to worry about code -
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  • Having said that, there is a simplicity and beauty to its bubble charts that no-one else has matched - and the word link graphic which we used below is a very useful way of showing how language links together. It's also linked to the Wordle site - which although now deeply unfashionable with designer types - is still a lovely way to show word frequency (if not much else).
  • Not, strictly speaking, a visualisation tool, Color Brewer - originally designed with federal funding and developed at Penn State - is really for choosing map colors, and is worth spending some time with if plan to make many more.
  • it's also worth checking out this DailyTekk piece which has even more options. The ones above aren't the only tools, just those we use most frequently. There are lots of others out there too, including:

    Chartsbin A tool for creating clickable world maps
    iCharts Specialises in small chart widgets
    Geocommons Shares data and boundary data to create global and local maps

    Oh and there's also, which provides templates for those text/numbers viz there are a lot of around at the moment.

    What data visualisation tools are out there on the web that are easy to use - and free? Here on the Datablog and Datastore we try to do as much as possible using the internet's powerful free options.
    Did you try the free version of ?
    Do you have experience with Google fusion tables ?
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