Posted on October 30, 2008
Data visualization resources
While I was shamelessly picking the brain of Matt Waite in recent weeks, he advised me that if I don’t have more than three to five weeks to spend on “data” (sort of akin to what we used to call “computer-assisted reporting”), what I should focus on is teaching the students something about data visualization.
So I hunkered down and hauled all my Edward Tufte books* off the shelf and did hours of Google searches and mined all my old bookmarks. Then, as usual, I figured I might as well share.
And if I’m lucky, some of my esteemed readers will share back, with some cool examples I haven’t seen yet!
- First, there are my Delicious.com links to data+examples. Right now there are only 22 bookmarks, because I’m kind of stingy with what I bookmark.
- Great Data Visualization Tells a Great Story, by Nathan Yau. This is an awesome short blog post by a guy who’s finishing a Ph.D. in data visualization at UCLA — and who did a three-month internship at The New York Times. There are all kinds of wild and crazy ways to visualize data, but Yau reminds us that in journalism, the story’s the thing. (His excellent blog is FlowingData.)
- Will Sullivan recently posted 25+ bodacious and inspirational visualizations for data, interactivity and new storytelling forms. Something for everyone there.
- At The New York Times’s new Visualization Lab, you can see the datasets and download the raw text files. Over at IBM’s associated Many Eyes site, you can compare Visualization Options Available in Many Eyes — this offers a good overview of types of charts and graphs that are commonly used to represent data. You can build your own visualization here too.
- Probably the best list ever: 175+ Data and Information Visualization Examples and Resources, from Meryl K. Evans.
- Mark Luckie recommends the Information Aesthetics blog, which certainly does serve up a lot of juicy goodness (but it’s too much for me to keep up with).
- Finally, how about a few free tools to play with? I’ve used FusionCharts Free (free Flash charts) with students in the past. amMap is a free mapping tool. XML/SWF Charts are another free Flash solution that, like FusionCharts, can be generated without the Flash application.
*Tufte’s Envisioning Information was published while I was in grad school, and $50 seemed like an impossible sum. But after I had pored over his earlier book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, many times in the public library, I went ahead and bought Envisioning Information, price tag be damned. It’s one of those books that didn’t so much teach me how to do things; it taught me how to think.