Data Visualization


Via Richard Marciano’s Digital Humanities Class:

GeoCommons: georeferenced data in the cloud

GeoCommons is a sharing platform for georeferenced data, from .kml to ArcGIS and other pro formats.


BatchGEO: Upload a spreadsheet, get a map

Free-as-in-beer mapping.  The free version looks quick and easy, and the pro version looks decently powerful.



This isn’t so much data visualization as data presentation, but there’re are neat things being done with WebGL fight now…For instance:  (note that you may need Chrome to view some of these)



Beck Tench’s awesome site has a link to Protovis, a free open source tool developed at Stanford’s Visualization Group.  Click below to check it out:

I think you’ll see if you visit Beck’s site, though, that nothing beats pen and paper…In her hands at least..



Adobe Flex

Adobe's Flex is a part of the Flash Platform

I found out about Adobe Flex from The Stanford Natural Language Processing Group‘s Dissertation Topic Visualizer.  Looks powerful & clean: google-viz like.  Output is .swf. Like a lot that Adobe does, expect it to be slick and powerful.


Microsoft Excel

I debated putting I went ahead and put Excel in strikethrough.  It’s the go-to dataviz tool for the masses, and is great at what it’s designed to do.  But if you have limited needs there may be something easier and freer.  And if you have advanced needs, Excel’s extremely limited/hard to use visual formatting options will drive you up the wall, as they did to me during my art history thesis research.

Linux Tools

IBM has a great rundown of Data Visualization Tools for Linux.

(Via classmate Lisa Speaker)

Tableau Software

Tableau is an expensive but interesting option geared towards business intelligence.  I’m keeping an eye on them… (Not to be confused with Tableau, LLC, forensic data analysis hardware provider)

Google Fusion Tables

This is a labs product, so don’t expect fireworks.  But take heart that Google has projects like this up its sleeve.  Basically, you connect to or upload data and then select from some canned visualizations.  The components of the vis are open to public comment.  An interesting but mildly useful feature as implemented.

More to come! – Meanwhile, check out this sweet post on visualization by Hilary Davis.  (Thanks to Alex Gallin for being the reason I found Hilary’s post)

Posted: February 28th, 2011
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