Raw data is at first unimaginative and to some extent less profitable for the inexperienced eye. Especially with big data, the data volumes are so large that they are unpredictable because of their quantity. Therefore, data must be visualized and, ideally, brought into an aesthetic form. Data visualization is not just a process of getting data into a more perceptible form. In the process of the representation represents at the same time a partial aspect of the analysis and interpretation of the data. Patterns and connections become in part only recognizable by the visualization. This process is therefore not “just” the final step in big data projects, so the results can be presented.
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The tools here are more for developers or people with experience in programming and database management. The range of tools is now very extensive and diverse. Depending on the purpose and software skills, there are different special solutions. In the next parts, we introduce tools for beginners and advanced users. The possibilities of visualizing data are, in principle, endless and only dependent on the imagination of the users and the tools used. Having a good overview of the current possibilities not only serves to stimulate ideas but also shows which options are available.
Let’s have a look at the 10 free data visualization tools
The three “Ds” in the company name of D3.js stand for “Data Driven Documents” and is one of the best solutions for data visualization. Especially well-known and appreciated is D3.js for its large library with a breathtaking abundance of visualizations. Here should be something for almost everyone. For example, the New York Times used the following example . Whether HTML, CSS, and SVG are used for visualizations, charts with D3.js are a challenging task. In addition, older browsers always have problems with the correct display of the charts.
With dygraphs you get a tool that is fast, flexible and highly dynamic. The open source Java Script Library is designed specifically for large amounts of data. The range of functions is perhaps not as great as with the alternatives. But with the ability to handle big data well, dygraphs is the hero of the moment. Many use cases that illustrate what dygraphs can do can be found in the gallery on the homepage.
The visualization of networks in the broadest sense is the specialty of Gephi, The range of functions and the wealth of display options is impressive. The following video gives a good overview of the possibilities of Gephi: https://vimeo.com/9726202 If you want to know how your network looks visualized on Facebook, LinkedIn or Xing as a graphical network, you can use the tutorial to try Gephi. For the inexperienced, the latter are necessary, since it is not easy to structure the data so that they deliver the desired results. The network research with Gephi is aimed not only at interested private users, but above all at science and industry. In B2B or marketing, network analytics is a value-adding application of data mining.
There is hardly an area where Google is not active. With Google Charts , Google is also involved in data visualization. A great strength is inherent in the system: With Google Charts you get the benefit of all the advantages of the Internet giant. From good findability on Google to compatibility across all browsers and operating systems. The latter is guaranteed by rendering the charts with HTML5 / SCG. The free offer includes the most important chart types such as cakes, bars, gauges or maps.
According to information use 61 of the 100 top companies in the world one of the products of high Charts . Nevertheless, the sympathetic Norwegians give away their library to all non-commercial projects that want to use high-charts. It contains a lot of common charts and maps. It is exported in JPG, PNG, SVG and PDF and promises maximum browser compatibility.
iCharts is a web-based software that provides data visualization for small, medium and large businesses. The company logo is automatically incorporated into the charts, graphs and charts. The visualization options are very sophisticated, can be designed interactively and provide connectivity to the social web. In the free basic version, only public charts can be created in the iCharts channel. With the staggered price groups, the range of functions increases then mean. Then the charts and diagrams can also be integrated into the company homepage and optimized for SEO.
Quadrigram comes with a whole library of interactive visualizations. These can be combined with the own databases and since there are no ready-made patterns, an individual solution must be found for each case. The functional scope of the flexible cloud software is correspondingly large. Quadrigram is aimed at both customers and start-ups who are still at the beginning with their business idea, but also at large corporations and can be adapted accordingly. Developers will enjoy using rendering options such as heat maps, 3D meshes, and polygons.
The free version Visualize Free is based on the commercial service of InetSoft. It allows you to upload large datasets in Exel (XLS and XLSX) or CVS or TXT format. Several chart types are at your disposal: word graphics, histograms, bubbles, grids, bullet point graphs, multi-charts and maps. When multiple datasets are set up with a fairly simple drag-and-drop function, data processing is very simple.
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