Presenting data in nice charts or graphs is going to get a big jump in 2011. At the end of 2009, I was advising a smaller NGO with a great set of data and even larger ambitions. When I started to look around in this organization, rather smallish with limited budgets, I discovered they had an in-house development plan to develop their own tool for tailor-made graphs, using a rather obsolete CMS called Plone. I believe the New York Times, the BBC and some other mainstream media served as an example.
I pondered a while on how to tell them, but there is never an easy way to do that. “You should stop the project,” was my advise. “Even larger players like Google do not develop those tools in-house, but wait till third parties have develop those difficult tools and then buy them. You cannot do what the New York Times is doing, useless you are the New York Times.” My feeling then said that in less than two years there would be a massive amount of free or cheap tools available to get those graphs out without any heavy-handed in-house development.
They continued. Contract were already signed with clients and they had to deliver within months. As we speak, their tool is still under construction, and I see a great set of graphic interfaces as new services hitting the market, as I predicted in 2009.
Google was the first to offer such a tool for public data, although very little new dataset have been added since their launch a few years ago. (It has only open for public use since a month). Earlier this week I mentioned already targetmap.com, who offer a great tool. I was then quickly directed into the direction of sixrevisions.com, who offer a list of twenty Javescript tools. When you scrawl down the comments, you see many more suggestions of internet services that can help you in generating nice graphs.
2011 is going to be the year of the graphic interfaces. Then, 2012 can become the year of the hypergrid.
Update: Right. I had just finished this entry, when this story of the Poynter Institute showed up at my radar screen. Because of its beat really useful for journalistic applications. And here a nice video by Stanford University on the IBM ManyEyes project. Cool stuff.
Update: Just got (h/t @competia) this link to a graph by flowingdata.com illustrating the growth of Wall Mart in the USA. Just another feature showing how visualization is going to support the usage of data this year.
- How the New York Times uses R for Data Visualization (revolutionanalytics.com)
- Amanda Cox on How The New York Times Graphics Department Uses R (r-bloggers.com)
- Visualize your own data in the Google Public Data Explorer (googlecode.blogspot.com)
- Google Wants You To Upload Your Data (webpronews.com)
- Anyone Can Now Upload to Google Public Data Explorer (pcworld.com)
- Thanks to Our Weekly Sponsor: Pixelmator (mac.appstorm.net)
- 4 SEO Presentations w/ Tips, Graphics + Data You Can Use (seomoz.org)
- Cliqly in Alpha: Visual Interface, Filters for Top Tech News (louisgray.com)