Data visualization is a technique that helps people to understand and interpret data. By presenting data in a visual or graphic format, it becomes easier to identify correlations, patterns and trends that might otherwise go undetected.
When data is presented in text format, it is generally more difficult to recognize and expose patterns and trends. Data visualization tools and software allow people to present data visually.
Today, data visualization tools go above and beyond the standard charts, graphs, and spreadsheets that were once the hallmark of the field. Data visualization has become sophisticated and multi-faceted, and new but nonetheless visual ways of presenting data have cropped up. Infographics, geographic maps, fever charts, dials and gauges, sparklines, detailed bar and pie charts, and heat maps are all examples of modern data visualization outputs. Some may have an interactive component, allowing users to investigate or manipulate aspects of the image in order to further understand the data behind it. In some cases, indicators are even used to alert users when data has been updated or certain conditions have been upheld. Business intelligence software incorporates data visualization tools into products in order to allow executives to identify major trends in marketing, sales, human resources, operations, or other domains of their business.
Common Data Visualization Tools
Turning data into beautiful maps, charts, or graphs would be a very tedious task if not for data visualization tools and software. A wide variety of data visualization tools are currently available according to both the user’s skill and the domain. Depending on your goal, tools may be able to help you create the graphics you need to present your data in a stunning and original way.
Common Data Visualization Software
Some of the best data visualization tools and software on the market today include:
- Data Driven Documents (D3.js). This tool for developers uses CSS, SVG, and HTML to render charts and diagrams. The software is free, open-source, and packed with features. Reviewers say that if you can imagine a visualization, you can do it using this software. Of course, it does require a developer background.
- Datawrapper. Datawrapper is an online tool for non-developers. It can be used to create interactive charts. You will need to upload a CSV or other data file or simply paste the data into the fields. You can then choose what type of chart you want. Datawrapper is used often by journalists, reporters, and news organizations looking to embed live or interactive charts into their articles.
- FusionCharts. This software product has an extensive collection of maps and charts. You’ll find everything you need to create a stunning map or chart that fits the data you have on hand. In addition, it’s highly customizable.
- Tableau. Tableau is one of the most popular data visualization applications on the market. With it, you can make charts, maps, graphics, and numerous other graphic representations of data. It’s also completely free and graphics can be easily embedded in a web page.