5 Useful Tools and Resources for Data Visualization

Nowadays, you can find plenty of cool technologies to help you collect and examine data. Both web and desktop apps have provided some really amazing interfaces to fall in love with data collecting, and with the constant rise in popularity, we’ve come to notice an increase in the number of infographics created for the past couple of years.

In this article, we’ll take a look into some really amazing and popular online resources for data visualization. There are all kinds of data like human population, and even human emotions presented through visualization. While some of them may be experimental, all of them have one similar trait: they help you understand the data better, and this is precisely what visualization is for.

Let’s jump right in!



Analytics Visualization

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Are you running websites with visitor tracking data? Chances are you’ve heard about Google Analytics and at least played around with it at some point.

Juice Kit’s appspot web interface, Analytics Visualization, pulls out data from any of your profiles after connecting it into your Google account. You can organize and examine the number of page views, popular page content, and related keywords throughout Analytics. Each of your sites can be configured to display data in a weekly, monthly or yearly cycle. Graphics can be divided into a word tree or block area content.


HTML Graph

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It might seem too good to be true, but HTML Graph works exactly as advertised. On the homepage, simply enter a URL to any website and hit Enter to generate a node graph. The entire app is built using JavaScript to help examine the HTML structure of your webpage.

As explained on their page, each of their nodes is color-coded to represent a particular HTML tag. Blue for anchor links, red for tables, violet for images, and so on. HTML Graph may not provide much practical benefit to some, but it’s quite visually appealing. Programmer Marcel Salathe even offers the open source code for users to play around with.



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Wordle is a really fun browser app where you can mess around with graphic visualizations of word clouds from practically any medium. You don’t even need to register for an account to create a mashup! It gives you 3 options: pasting in custom text, adding the URL to a blog or feed, or using a Del.icio.us account name to display their tags in cloud format.

But Wordle isn’t just about interactivity. As you browse through their site, you’ll notice a lot of really neat mashups from previous users. The system may be a bit complicated to get accustomed with right away, but you’ll definitely love the text and word visualization trees.

Wordle has features that you can’t easily find in any standard web app. We highly recommend experimenting with their interface even for just a few minutes. You won’t be disappointed!


Google Fusion Tables

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Who doesn’t know the powerhouse that is Google? They’ve been running some really unique and fun experiments in the back of their labs for years, and Fusion Tables is one of these.

All you need is to register a Google account and some time to play around. This tool allows you to share data publicly online and build custom visualization graphics. These can be imported from a .csv or Excel spreadsheet. Although currently not supported, we’d imagine Google will soon allow the import of Google Docs.

After logging in, you’ll find a table of public data lists to demo with. These are constantly updated with new user submissions. After opening a document, the top toolbar has a Visualization link, with additional menus to customize your graphic.


Tweet Spectrum

Tweet Spectrum

When it comes to data visualization, Twitter is probably one of the first networks to pop up. There are literally billions of Tweets flooding the Internet every single day, so it comes as no surprise the network is huge.

Tweet Spectrum is a custom-built web application that uses Java. Just enter two keywords you’d like to compare, and the spectrum will fill in surrounding keywords. It’s an amazing way to visualize words to similar topics. It’s hard to expect any typical results since Twitter is such a robust network, but this is exactly what makes this web application so unique!

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