more visualisation tools

About 5 years ago I started a mental “wouldn’t it be nice if…” list of technologies/software that I wish existed. I’m still reeling from excitement at a tool that my colleague Paul here at Canadian Polytechnic just pointed me to–Manyeyes, since it’s one of those *better than I hoped* tools that I can scratch off my list. Manyeyes lets you simply convert data sets to visualisation tools, and in 2.0 spirit allows comments and discussion about the data. I’m still exploring, but just a quick look at the visualisation possibilities is educational in itself–clicking on the Learn More link leads to informative descriptions of when and how the corresponding visualisation is appropriate. This alone is well worth a visit from grad students trying to get a grip on qualitative and/or quantitative research methods and data presentation. However, ethics committees will probably want you to take a look at the Terms of Service, since it’s not really suited to data that is confidential.

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3 thoughts on “more visualisation tools

  1. Another virtue of ManyEyes is that it keeps the users out of the business of graphic design — where they don’t want to be anyway. They’re freed up to do what they do best: gather good data.

  2. For those interested in probing further into social data sharing applications — that is, anyone wishing to upload and share data sets using a visualization tool on the Internet — should read Robert Kosara’s thorough review of Many Eyes and Swivel http://eagereyes.org/VisCrit/Swivel-vs-Many-Eyes.html.

    Robert compares the approach, social aspects, technology, capabilities, broad appeal, and ethics of both tools. He also presents a strong case for the need for such tools:

    “[S]ocial data sharing and visualization websites could have an enormous impact on the world, by giving many people access to a lot of data that would otherwise be hard or impossible to obtain. And they can expose a lot of people to visualization that would not otherwise see good uses visualization techniques, and to learn from others how to make the most of them.”

    Well said, Robert!

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