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10/19/2016 - 4:13pm

Data Visualization

What is Data Visualization?

Good question! In a nutshell (and much as you would expect) data visualization is the visual representation of data. For a more helpful definition you might want to see the Wikipedia Data Visualization entry or Matthew Ward’s Overview of Data Visualization talk overview.  For an interactive chart displaying various different visualization methods (including data visualization) see A Periodic Table of Visualization.

What’s New


The Value of Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo.

Short List

Here is just a smattering of of data visualization applications & programming languages, with an emphasis on open source resources.
see also the data visualization software list (wikipedia)


Name Description Platform/OS/Browser Language(s) License
Google Charts The Google Chart API lets you dynamically generate charts with a URL string. You can embed these charts on your web page, or download the image for local or offline use. browser-based API    
birdeye Information Visualization and Visual Analytics Library for Adobe Flex   actionscript MIT license
flot Flot is a pure Javascript plotting library for jQuery. It produces graphical plots of arbitrary datasets on-the-fly client-side. Internet Explorer 6/7/8, Firefox 2.x+, Safari 3.0+, Opera 9.5+ or Konqueror 4.x+ with the HTML canvas tag. javascript MIT License
Flare Flare is an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player.   actionscript BSD
Gelphi Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs. Windows, Linux, MacOS X Java version 6 or later AGPL 3
JUNG Java Universal Network/Graph Framework   Java BSD license
Many Eyes upload and share data and create visualizations from your or others' data sets browser-based tool   terms of use
NodeBox NodeBox is a Mac OS X application that lets you create 2D visuals (static, animated or interactive) using Python MacOS Python MIT License
Processing programming language & development environment for creation of images, animations & interactions GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows Processing GPL
Processing.js processing visualization language ported to javascript   javascript  
JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit tools for creation interactive data visualizations for the web, javascript w/example html platform independent js library javascript, html  
Protovis     javascript, SVG BSD License
Google Public Data Explorer upload datasets for visualization and exploration. browser-based API DSPL: Dataset Publishing Language  
Graphviz graphs Windows, Linux, Solaris, MacOS Java Common Public License Version 1.0
prefuse visualization framework for the Java programming language   Java BSD License
R statistical computing and graphics UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS R open source
SIMILE Widgets Free, Open-Source Data Visualization Web Widgets, and More     BSD License
McIDAS-V 3D geophysical data analysis and visualization Windows, Linux, MacOS Java, jython GNU LGPL
Vis5D Vis5D is a system for interactive visualization of large 5-D gridded data sets such as those produced by numerical weather models. Windows, Linux, Unix, MacOS C GNU GPL
VisAD VisAD is a Java component library for interactive and collaborative visualization and analysis of numerical data. Windows, Linux, MacOS Java, jython GNU LGPL
Octave GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides capabilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems, and for performing other numerical experiments. It also provides extensive graphics capabilities for data visualization and manipulation.   Octave GNU GPL
Tableau Public Tableau Public includes a free desktop product that you can download and use to publish interactive data visualizations to the web. Windows