As we begin to draw closer to the end of 2017, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the collection and application of data is more important than ever for businesses looking to continue to grow.
5 of Our Favorite Free Visualization Tools
Edited: July 16, 2018; Published: November 2, 2017
As we begin to draw closer to the end of 2017, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the collection and application of data is more important than ever for businesses looking to continue to grow. The downside? As we continually discover ways in which data is beneficial, the more difficult it can become for individuals to compile, present and implement findings. Thankfully, there’s an influx of open source data visualization tools that are able to intake your unique data, both spatial and tabular, and present the information back to you through the use of advanced graphs and charts.
So which tools are worth taking a moment to explore and/or possibly adopt? Below, we’ve assembled 5 of the open source data visualizations tools that take a much needed illustrative approach to complicated data.
Image source: Shiny from R Studio (https://shiny.rstudio.com/gallery/retirement-simulation.html)
With the ability to display graphs, charts, maps and more, Tableau Public is a popular data visualization tool that's also totally free. With up to 10 GB of storage and a drag-and-drop interface, users can watch their data update in real-time while collaborating with others on their team. The “public” portion of Tableau means that you can only save your data to public profile where others have access to your data, but if you’re not a highly public company whose privacy is your #1 concern, there are a plethora of upsides to Tableau Public for business analysts and managers. The newest version is optimized for mobile devices, can connect to a variety of data sources beyond Excel, and can link directly to Google Sheets.
Image source: Dashboard Layout and Design, Tableau Public (https://public.tableau.com/en-us/s/blog/2013/10/dashboard-layout-and-design)
Datawrapper is a great open source tool for the complete visualization of data and the ability to embed live and interactive charts. Simply upload your data in a CSV file and the online tool is able to build customized visuals such as bar and line graphs. Datawrapper is great for small business or presentation use, as it allows for only 10,000 views per chart, but it may not be ideal for big businesses with a large clientele. However, most people agree that the easy to use interface and ability to quickly present statistics in a straightforward manner is helpful.
Image source: Create A Map Demo, Datawrapper (https://www.datawrapper.de/)
Pivot is an intuitive UI designed to enable exploratory analytics on event data while utilizing the much appreciated drag-and-drop interface. One of the attributes that sets Pivot apart is that it’s centered around two operations: Filter and Split. Filter narrows the view of data and is equivalent to the “WHERE” clause in SQL, where as Split is very similar to SQL’S “GROUP BY” function. However, Split allows for data to be cut across multiple dimensions -- we’ve seen great success in grocery price/promotional analysis and optimization.
Image source: Imply Pivot (https://github.com/geo-opensource/pivot)
Regardless of industry, these tools are a key factor in understanding the constant influx of valuable data available to you. These tools are easy to use and have the ability to present patterns or emphasize trends without spending a penny.
- The Facebook Offering: How It Compares, The New York Times (https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/05/17/business/dealbook/how-the-facebook-offering-compares.html)
- Across U.S. Companies, Tax Rates Vary Greatly, The New York Times (https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/25/sunday-review/corporate-taxes.html)
- 512 Paths to the White House, The New York Times (http://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/11/02/us/politics/paths-to-the-white-house.html)