10 Free Tools for Data Visualization

It has long been proven that we are visual  creatures.  Data is much easier to digest when  displayed in a visual form than to read large amounts of lists.  Taking data from it’s natural form and making it into colorful charts and graphs can be a daunting task. Fortunately there are many tools to help you convert your data.

Lets explore 10 free tools to help you get your data into a visual form.

  1.  Google Charts

screenshot of Google charts

Google Charts

Google Charts  has a large gallery of interactive charts which are customizable.  Connect your data in real time using Google’s data connection tools.  Google makes it easy to combine multiple charts in the dashboard and gives you interface widget controls to manipulate the data.   Google Chart Guides top bar menu explains how to connect your database to Google Charts, how to ingest data from other sources and how to implement a new type of datasource among many other helpful topics.

 

2.  ZingChart

photo of ZingChart

ZingChart

Download  and modify your chart template from the large gallery.  Some coding skills are necessary to use ZingChart. Interactive tutorials are on the site http://www.zingchart.com/try which allow you to practice using this tool.  The basic free service includes access to the entire ZingChart library of charts, maps, modules and features. For more features and support, paid subscriptions are available.

3. Visualize Free

screen shot of Visualize Free

Visualize Free

Visualize Free uses your uploaded data file, spreadsheet or CSV file with their drag and drop user interface.  Choose your chart type and custom controls.  This cloud-based tool by default is private but can be changed to share with anyone.  To share datasets and visualizations, change the Protected mode on the detail page and email the link or embed on your blog with the iFrame code.  Free tutorials are offered on the site and a helpful FAQ section will hopefully answer any questions about how to use Visualize Free.

4. Timeline JS

screen shot of Timelines JS

Timelines JS

Timelines are used in advertising and web posts as a quick and easy way to get a lot of information to readers quickly.  Timeline JS  by knightlab is an open-source tool to build interactive timelines.  It works on any site with 4 easy steps. Use their template to build a Google spreadsheet and drop your data in. Publish your file to the web.  Copy the URL that will appear in the window and paste into the box next to the Google Spreadsheet URL.  Embed the code by pasting it onto your site.  Timelines JS recommends up to 20 slides at most for readers to slide through.  Pull your media from any social media platform like YouTube, Vine, Flickr, Twitter and more.  Visit this free tool at timeline.knightlab.com.

5.  Modest Maps

screenshot of JpGraph

JpGraph

Need to make an interactive maps ?  The Javascript based Modest Maps gives you the basic controls to have an interactive map by allowing features like ranger sliders to animated zooming and setting the boundary on how far your map can be panned out.  Other features include adding popups, zooming levels, track points on your map and highlight specific regions on your map.

6.  Kartograph

screenshot of Kartograph

Kartograph

Kartograph  generates  inactive maps with Kartograph.py  which creates maps from its Python library using SVGs and Kartograph.js which runs on a stand alone basis, no server needed.   Download the framework from the site.  A basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is a must and Python and Javascript experience may be necessary in order to utilize the full potential of this tool.

7. Jp Graph

screenshot of JpGraph

JpGraph

Looking for a simple graph or line plot chart ? Jp Graph is an object-oriented graph creating library for PHP and can be used in any PHP scripts.  Plot types supported by Jp Graph include Line, Pie, Bar, Scatter, Geo Maps, Radar, Contour to name a few. This tools also supports creation of  anti-spam images which prevents automatic sign-ups to mailing list or on-line services. There is a pro-version available which supports Barcodes, Windrose and Odometer graph types.

8.  Dygraphs

screenshot of Dygraph

Dygraph

These inactive charts are a open source Javascript charting library.  They can handle large data sets with millions of plot points.  It works in all browsers and zooms down for mobile devices. The quick links menu has free tutorials to bring you up to speed to use Dygraphs. Customize your graph with the many options available.  Zooming, panning and mouseovers are all on by default.  New features of Dygraphs include being  retina compatible and dropped point optimization.

9.  Online Charts

screenshot of Chart Tool

Chart Tool

Anyone can use this tool to make colorful charts and graphs. No experience in coding or extensive computer knowledge is needed. First pick your chart and follow the easy to use the data menu.  Customize your font colors, background appearance, transparency levels, grid line colors and more.  Over 12 types of charts to choose, just add your data and preview your chart before saving and sharing on-line.

10. ChartGo

screenshot of Chart Go

ChartGo

This on-line chart maker is for anyone who wants to make a colorful data chart or graph. It’s  for simple applications of data.  The format is easy to follow. Click the Create Chart link on the Home page. The Create Chart page is where all your data will be entered.  Two important  sections on this page are the Settings section which contains options that control what your chart looks like and the Data section where your data is entered. Hit the Results page to see your new chart and share it with others.

There are many more visualization tools out there and I hope you try some of these great tools. Some tools are more suited for the developer but as you can see here, there are great tools for average person who wants to spice up their data.  Remember, all the tools I have mentioned here are FREE ! So try them out and find the one you like.

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