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How to become a data visualization ninja with 3 free tools for non-programmers

How to become a data visualization ninja with 3 free tools for non-programmers
We noticed many times between the lines of this blog how data visualization is in the hype and how this trend is growing and growing. That’s good news guys! It’s fun and it’s … success! But as more and more people join this wild bunch we have to take care of those who are not as skilled as we are yet. There are many people out there who love data visualization but they think they are out of this business because they are not able to code. As data visualization develops we can expect to have people developing tools that are more accessible and easier to use also for non-programmers. By the way, if you are one of those wannabe non-programmer-data-enthusiast I have a good news for you: the future is here! Data Visualization is 80% data 20% visualization I don’t think I will find anyone arguing against this sentence. And there is also a subtler issue here. So here it is. The Ninja’s Toolbox Outwit Hub (data scraping) Outwit Hub is a little and fantastic FireFox add-on. Isn’t it fantastic? Related:  Data VisualizationProfessional Development

Partiview Documentation | Uses | Binaries | Source Code | GeoWalls & Domes | Publications | Licensing | Mailing List | Misc. | Links Partiview is free, open-source software from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It is an industrial strength, interactive, mono- or stereoscopic viewer for 4-dimensional datasets. The prime author and current maintainer is Stuart Levy (slevy {at}, research programmer at the NCSA. Others who have contributed a great deal to design, management, and documentation issues are Donna Cox (NCSA), Peter Teuben (Maryland), and Brian Abbott (Hayden/AMNH). Documentation To get Partiview to display your data, the data has to be wrapped in some ascii (plain text) files. Beginners : the Partiview User Guide by Brian Abbott. Intermediate : the Partiview Reference Manual (HTML) (or PDF) by Peter Teuben and Stuart Levy; or Peter Teuben's collection of partiview and related reference material. Astronomy Selected Tools How to measure the effectiveness of professional development activities | Learner Weblog This post on measurement on the effectiveness of professional development attracts my attention. Stephen commented in his OLDaily: And the good point he make is that the effectiveness (if you want to call it that) of a learning event isn’t measurable at the time of the event – you have to wait for the cycles to complete. Can the effectiveness of professional development be measured? I have composed a post on Teacher Training and classroom teaching here. I think an objective measurement of the effectiveness of professional development needs to be based on the context of application of the skills learnt and the teaching or learning situations. Besides, the sole reliance of professional development is often not enough, especially in a complex learning environment. What needs to be considered in mind could be illustrated with the pictures below: How about this? Here is the Networked Teacher (Photo: Flickr source: Alec Courus) On Emergent Learning: Integration of learning by Terry Anderson

Use Flare Visualization Toolkit to Build Interactive Viz for the Web Tom from Stamen Design and Hadley from the GGobi group kindly pointed me to the recently ported Flare visualization toolkit. Developed by Berkeley's Jeffrey Heer, Flare looks extremely useful for anyone who is interested in developing interactive visualizations (e.g. time series, stacked bar, pie charts, graph) for the Web that run in the Adobe Flash player. There's a pretty good tutorial that I, as a beginner, found straightforward. I ran into some problems when I was trying to "import a library into another project," but per Jeffrey's suggestion, I upgraded to Adobe Flex 3 beta (currently a free download). That cured my problems. Adobe Flex is apparently still a little rough around the edges. I'm currently going through the demos to gain a better understanding of both Flare and Actionscript, and it looks very promising. Check out some screenshots from the Flare demo reel after the jump.

About UNICEF: Who we are - Multiple emergencies and a new focus on reaching the most vulnerable children Multiple emergencies and a new focus on reaching the most vulnerable children NEW YORK, USA, 30 December 2010 – For UNICEF and the world’s children, the past 12 months have been marked by unprecedented difficulties and extraordinary opportunities. As 2010 draws to a close, it’s worth highlighting some of the moments that made this a year like no other. The year began, tragically and ominously, with the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January. As Haitians dug out from the rubble, humanitarian aid agencies responded with life-saving aid. More recently, however, a cholera outbreak has killed thousands and sickened many more in Haiti, driving home the need for continued vigilance against conditions that breed waterborne disease. Spurred into action The crisis in Haiti was just one of a series of emergencies that spurred UNICEF and its partners into action in 2010. Monsoon floods in Pakistan, for example, caused devastation on a massive scale. Equity and development

NOOBLAST | Pavel Risenberg Nooblast Project inspired by the old days Noösphere concept. Visualization picks the real-time data from public APIs and calculates overall strength of signal (recent network buzz) for two given keywords. Some picked events have geolocation information, so they mapped on the globe in the exact points. The overall strength visualized around the globe as “noo”-cloud, the size of which reflects event streams and shaped by geotagged data, building light abstract visual structures-snapshots in space for each term. It explores abstract visual component of generated crowd sourced info streams as the visual connection attaching you to the pulse of planet. WATCH (real time: fast) > WATCH (timelapse: slower) > Powered by Data streamed from following services: Track on your own

The Best Tools for Visualization Visualization is a technique to graphically represent sets of data. When data is large or abstract, visualization can help make the data easier to read or understand. There are visualization tools for search, music, networks, online communities, and almost anything else you can think of. Whether you want a desktop application or a web-based tool, there are many specific tools are available on the web that let you visualize all kinds of data. Visualize Social Networks Last.Forward: Thanks to's new widget gallery, you can now explore a wide selection of extras to extend your experience. Last Forward Friends Sociomap: Friends Sociomap is another tools that generates a map of the music compatibility between you and your friends. Fidg't: Fidg't is a desktop application that gives you a way to view your networks tagging habits. Fidg't The Digg Tools: One more: Digg Radar. YouTube: You can discover related videos using YouTube's visualizations. Visualize Music Amazon

Khan Academy La visualisation de données pour le Web | Flare Pre-school at $50 daily Peter Sourlango (5), Andrea Lassandro (3) and Eve Kidston (4) playing at the Building Better Blocks Early Learning Centre childcare in Alexandria, Sydney, NSW. Picture: Dan Himbrechts Source: The Daily Telegraph NSW families are paying as much as $50 a day for their child's vital year of pre-school education while, in other states, the governments provide early childhood learning for free or a minimal charge. The fees mean many children do not attend pre-school in the year before they begin kindergarten as their families struggle with the cost. Community organisations, which run the majority of pre-schools across the state, have called for an increase in government funding so every child has access to pre-school education. Chief executive officer of SDN Children's Services Ginie Udy said the Government had to stop thinking about funding for early childhood services as a cost and recognise it as an investment. The plan aims to create an 5250 extra places by 2013.

Emergent Futures Mapping with Futurescaper Futurescaper is an online tool for making sense of the drivers, trends and forces that will shape the future. As a user interface system, it still needs development. As a tool for analyzing and understanding complex systems, it works very well and does something I have yet to see anything else be able to do. Several people asked me about this after my last post, so here is some more detail. Following the logic of collective intelligence (as part of my my PhD), I broke up the the scenario thinking process into discrete chunks, came up with a system for analyzing and relating them together, and then distilled them into key outputs for helping the scenario development process. Emergent Thematic Maps One of the coolest things about Futurescaper is how it translates simple input into complex analysis, and then back again into simple insights. To demonstrate this, I tested the system using data from an International Futures Forum project on international climate change impacts for UK Foresight.

The Role of Algorithms in Data Visualization It’s somewhat surprising to me to notice how little we discuss about the more technical side of data visualization. I use to say that visualization is something that “happens in your head” to emphasize the role of perception and cognition and to explain why it is so hard to evaluate visualization. Yet, visualization happens a lot in the computer also, and what happens there can be extremely fascinating too. So, today I want to talk about algorithms in visualization. What’s the use of algorithms in visualization? When do we need them? I have grouped algorithms in four broad classes. Spatial Layout. (Interactive) Data Abstraction. Smart Encoding. Quality Measures. These are the four classes of algorithms I have currently identified in visualization. Take care.

Welcome to Rachel & Associates! The growing importance of data journalism One of the themes from News Foo that continues to resonate with me is the importance of data journalism. That skillset has received renewed attention this winter after Tim Berners-Lee called analyzing data the future of journalism. When you look at data journalism and the big picture, as USA Today’s Anthony DeBarros did at his blog in November, it’s clear the recent suite of technologies is part of a continuum of technologically enhanced storytelling that traces back to computer-assisted reporting (CAR). As DeBarros pointed out, the message of CAR “was about finding stories and using simple tools to do it: spreadsheets, databases, maps, stats,” like Microsoft Access, Excel, SPSS, and SQL Server. That’s just as true today, even if data journalists now have powerful new tools for scraping data from the web with tools like ScraperWiki and Needlebase, scripting with Perl, or Ruby, Python, MySQL and Django. The issues that came up are significant. Related:

Related:  Internet/ visualización datos