Essential Resources: Web-based visualisation tools
This is part of a series of posts to share with readers a useful collection of some of the most important, effective and practical data visualisation resources. This post presents a collection of the many web-based charting and infographics tools. Some are great, some are less great but they all have a role across this collection of typically free to use, accessible web-based options. People can try them out for themselves and judge to see what works for them.
Please note, I may not have personally used all the packages or tools presented but have seen sufficient evidence of their value from other sources. Whilst some inclusions may be contentious from a quality/best-practice perspective, they may still provide some good features and provide value to a certain audience out there. Finally, to avoid re-inventing the wheel, descriptive text may have been reproduced from the native websites if they provide the most articulate descriptions. Your feedback is most welcome to help curate this collection, keep it up to date and preserve its claim to be an essential list of resources!
Datawrapper is an open source tool helping anyone to create simple, correct and embeddable charts in minutes. It is easy to use, gives you full control and is entirely customisable.
Plotly offers a very engaging and user-friendly option for creating a range of visualisations within the browser. Simply upload your data (from a number of sources), choose your graph type, style it with publication-quality layout and colour options, dive into the data to refine then publish and share.
Google Fusion Tables is a data management and visualisation application that offers an extremely versatile and simple way to host, manage, collaborate on, visualise and publish data tables online. From the basis of online hosted data tables users have the option to instantly publish the data as maps, timelines or a variety of charts, depending on the data variables and then embed the visualisation in a web page or shared via an email. Data can be uploaded from spreadsheets or CSV files and exported to CSV or KML also. Developers can use the Fusion Tables API to insert, update, delete and query data programmatically.
Many Eyes was created by the IBM Visual Communications Lab in 2007, one of the first web-based chart creation resources and was recently updated. It offers a set of web-based data visualisation tools allowing users to upload data and then produce graphic representations, from a variety of available templates and types, for others to view and comment upon. As well as publicly publishing your own data and visualisation you can also view tens of thousands of other creations and contribute to discussions within the Many Eyes community about published visualisations.
Polychart offers users the chance to easily and quickly build dashboards and charts, connecting directly to your data wherever it’s stored. Polychart’s dashboards and charts work in all browsers and on tablets.
Whilst there are many great data analysis tools out there, they don’t seem to help people become data presenters. Slice solves that data presentation problem, providing a solution for ordinary business folks to create engaging, interactive presentations that leave the dreary days of Death by PowerPoint behind and bring new life to the data-presentation experience. Slice focusses on the last mile of business intelligence: presenting data with the visual precision, interactivity and excellence in a way that sparks engagement.
Weave is a new web-based visualization platform designed to enable visualization of any available data by anyone for any purpose. Weave is an application development platform supporting multiple levels of users – novice to advanced – as well as the ability to integrate, analyze and visualize data at “nested” levels of geography, and to disseminate the results in a web page.
Perspective is a platform for exploring, creating, and sharing audiovisual stories. Today’s storytelling involves a mishmash of apps, websites, blog tools, and technologies. Perspective simplifies all this by combining the essential elements of storytelling into a single iPad App.
Examples/references: Screenshots (via iTunes Store)
Datavisual is a web-based tool for creating data visualizations. Perfect for designers and creatives with limited programming skills but a need to make beautiful charts and graphs. Once you design your chart style you can upload multiple data sets and output them as vector PDFs or SVGs as well as websafe PNGs.
Examples/references: Video demo
Wondergraphs is the best way to explore your data and the easiest way to share your insights with colleagues and customers. And we make it look beautiful.
With Data Hero you can do more with your data. Quickly and easily get answers to your data question. No IT. No business analyst. Just you and a few clicks. Simply upload your Excel spreadsheets or connect directly to the services you use every day and DataHero does the rest. DataHero’s powerful Data Decoder analyzes your data and shows you relevant visualizations and key insights. From there, simply drag-and-drop to filter and refine your charts, then share them with your colleagues and be the hero!
VisualEyes is a web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia. It allows users to create innovative, dynamic visualisations based on meaningful information in both traditional and multimedia formats, such as audio-video, animation, charts, maps, data, and interactive timelines. The effective use of the visualizations can reveal and illuminate relationships between multiple kinds of information across time and space far more effectively than words alone. VisualEyes is freely available for non-profit and academic usage.
ChartsBin is a web-based data visualization tool that will allow everyone to quickly and easily create rich interactive visualizations with their own data. You can then share your interactive visualizations with others by embedding them in websites, blogs or sharing via Facebook or Twitter. We’re focused on building the most exciting and engaging destination for statisticians, and computer scientists in the world.
A Silk site lets you answer questions with your data by creating overviews and visualisations. It lets you create visualizations, maps and overviews. It works its magic by using the connected information from your fact sheets. Silk sites that contain pages with numbers on prices, size or distances can create interactive charts that put all of your data in perspective.
Creating an infographic is as simple as clicking, dragging and dropping. To create charts just copy-and-paste your spreadsheet data or connect to a multitude of sources like Google Analytics, LinkedIn and Facebook. Currently awaiting Beta version release.
Infogram let’s you illustrate your data, offering more than 30 chart types from bubble charts and treemaps to simple pie charts to create infographic images.
Piktochart helps you to create infographics, share and get results in 3 easy steps: No design experience required!
Easselly lets you create and share visual ideas online via ‘vhemes’, visual themes. Drag and drop a vheme onto your canvas for easy creation of your visual idea!
Meograph lets you easily create multimedia stories, mashups comprising video, maps, text and links and many other features.
Dipity is a free digital timeline website. Our mission is to organize the web’s content by date and time. Users can create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps.
Examples/references: Hot Topics