As with much that we’ve talked about in this series of articles, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to data visualization software. If you use Excel to create a bar graph or whip up a visualization in Adobe Photoshop, you’re using it as data visualization software. Same goes for vector programs like Adobe Illustrator and OmniGraffle or chart-making with Apple iWork or Microsoft Office.
But it’s more likely that you’re looking for data visualization software that’s a little more specialized. Right now, Visual.ly is working to create web-based data visualization software that will help you create data visualizations quickly and easily -- software that’s as intuitive as using a vector program but tailored for data visualization.
Our plan is to have charting and data tools right in the same data visualization software. Different elements will be on different layers, and you’ll be able to create slideshow-like transitions between views. Changes to the data mapping will happen instantaneously, and it will all be customizable.
Until this data visualization software is ready to go, there are a number of places you can find data visualization software online.
Tableau Public is free data visualization software that lets you create visualizations and publish them to the Web. You can customize labels, tool tips, interactive filters and legend displays. Plot.io is similar, but web-based.
Gapminder Desktop allows you to show animated statistics right on your computer. It uses up-to-date data from Gapminder World, updated automatically whenever new data is available. Google Public Data works in a similar vein, allowing you to turn public data into a simple visualization. Stat Silk is data visualization software that lets you access world data and customize the way the data is presented visually. Inkscape is free open-source vector data visualization software that’s very easy to use. It’s not unlike Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. And Many Eyes is data visualization software that lets you use your own data for visualizations.
And do keep an eye out for our own software. You’ll hear about on our data visualization blog, where you can also learn things like creating charts with Photoshop or using the D3 data visualization library.