Handy Data Visualisation Tools 05-05-2013

Providing visitors to your Website with easy to access/ read data invariably requires the use of visualisation tools - whether you choose to create a simple chart, an infographic or a complex map. Here are some of these tools - many of which are free or may already be installed on your computer.

Although limited default colours, styles and lines can make the creation of Website graphics somewhat difficult, MS Excel - likely to be already part of your office suite - is an excellent entry level tool allowing you to quickly explore/ create internal visualisations and should without a doubt be part of your 'tool box'.

It is also essential to understand the structures of/ know how to input/ access data via JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and Comma-Separated Values (CSV). Though not actually visualisation tools as such, one or both of these formats will be accepted as input by most available tools, which include, among many others:

Google Chart API
Flot
Raphaël
D3
Visual.ly

All of these tools provide excellent libraries for a variety of dynamic visualisations, including bar charts, line graphs, tree maps and more. If visualisations are required to be more interactive - almost becoming GUI controls - the following tools are doubtlessly of assistance:

Crossfilter
Tangle

For serious visualisations well beyond simple widgets, more powerful tools are naturally necessary. Such tools include, for example:

Processing
NodeBox
R
Weka
Gephi

In short, whatever your data visualisation needs may be, there is a solution available in the shape of a handy tool.