I came across an exciting and novel piece of visualization software this morning and wanted to share it with the group. What’s novel about the software is that it combines some of the most powerful visualization techniques in one package, with all visualizations linked to each other, kind of like what you’d see in jmp, tableau, and panopticon, but with more of an emphasis on the geographical aspect of your data. When you click a point in the scatter plot, the corresponding point(s) light up on the map, bar chart, or any other graphic that is on the screen. These linked graphs are a great way to explore data.
The software was created at Linkoping University and, as far as I can tell, it allows users to upload, explore, and visualize their own data, as well as OECD data. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the software itself can be downloaded. Here’s a link to the site describing the software and a link where you can demo the software with canned data. The BBC also did a 3 minute demo of the software here. I’ve also put a picture of some of the graphic capabilities of the software at the bottom of this post.
It has a geographic layer with excellent mapping capabilities, including choropleth maps (let’s ignore the little pie charts on their example…no one is perfect). While the maps in the demo aren’t incredibly detailed, I think you can add layers of your own, more detailed data. It has a scatter plot engine much like trendalyzer, a tool that allows the user to animate time series data as well as change axis variables on the fly, a parallel coordinates plot function which Stephen Few wrote about in 2006, a time graph, a table lens and other goodies. This is the only time I’ve seen the table lens made available outside of advizor analyst. If you’ve never seen a table lens visualization before, you should definitely check it out.
This platform is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of putting powerful visualization tools in the hands of info visualizers to enable them to show the data and tell their stories in an immersive and interactive fashion. In short, this is an important direction where the info viz world needs to venture. And you can’t beat the price (free).
What do you think?
Thanks to Max Kiesler at Design demo for bringing the software to my attention.