Ten Places to Find and Create Data Visualizations

Following yesterday’s post about ChartsBin I received a request from a reader for suggestions for other tools that students can use to create data visualizations. The reader that asked thought Charts Bin might be a little confusing for some of her students. Here is a list of other places that you and your students can browse for data visualizations and or create your own data visualizations. Some of my favorite ways to have students use these kinds of tools is to create visualizations for the purpose of comparing datasets and trying to draw correlations between physical geography information and human geography information.

Map a List turns Google Spreadsheet
information into Google Maps placemarks. The finished product is a
Google Map of the information you’ve selected from your Google
Spreadsheets. To create a map from your spreadsheets you need to register for a Map a List account and give it access to your Google Docs account. Map a List then
walks you through each step of selecting a spreadsheet, defining the
parameters for your map, and choosing placemarks. Just like in Google
Maps you can customize the placemark icons that are used in your Map a
List displays. Your maps can be shared publicly or privately. Your maps
can be downloaded as KML files to use in Google Earth.

Heat Map Tool is a tool for easily creating heat maps or incident maps from a CSV file.
To create a heat map all you need to do is upload a CSV file then
specify your desired display attributes like scale, colors, and opacity.
You can edit the display attributes of your map whenever you like. If
you’re wondering how to create a CSV file you can do so by exporting
from a spreadsheet in Google Documents or exporting from an Excel file. Click here
for directions on exporting from Excel. The free version of Heat Map
Tool allows you to have up to 100 data points on your map and up to 500
hits per day on your map.

Spreadsheet Mapper 3 is a Google Spreadsheet script that will allow you to create KML files based
on your spreadsheet data. Spreadsheet Mapper 3 allows you to map up to
1,000 placemarks based on your spreadsheet data. And because Spreadsheet
Mapper 3 is a part of Google Docs you can share your spreadsheets and
maps for collaborative editing. Click here for complete directions on how to use Spreadsheet Mapper 3.

StatSilk’s StatWorld
contains more than 400 world maps of data on topics in economics,
education, health, environment, the digital divide, and much more. You
can explore the maps by selecting a data set and then a display format.
You can also choose to display the data for all countries or only the
countries that you wish to compare.

MapStory is a free
tool for creating mapped displays of data sets. Data sets that are time
based. For example, the travels of Genghis Khan can be set to play out
in a timeline style on your map.
Creating a MapStory
might look complicated at first glance, but it’s actually quite easy to
create a map. To get started select a data set or sets that you want to
display on your map. You can choose data sets from the MapStory gallery
or upload your own. After choosing your data set(s) select a base map.
After that you can customize the look of the data points on your map and
or manually add more data points to your map. The notes option in
MapStory lets you create individual events to add to your map and
timeline. Lines and polygons can also be added to your projects through
the notes feature in MapStory.

Knoema is a huge
collection of data sets and maps for public use. Knoema offers data maps
and charts for almost every country in the world. There are dozens of
data categories to pick from. Some of the data categories that you will
find include GPD Per Capita, Government Debt, Migration, Housing, Energy
Consumption, and Agricultural Production. To find a data map or chart on Knoema
to use with your students first select a data set then choose a country
from the drop-down menu tied to each data set. Each data set, map, and
chart can be exported downloaded and or embedded into a blog post or

GeoCommons provides
excellent tools for creating and sharing map-based data visualizations.
Users can select a from twelve base maps to build upon. After choosing a
base map users can select from more than 49,000 public data sets or
upload their own data sets. Map creators can add more than one data set
to their maps. To complete the visualizations users can specify colors,
shades, shapes, and apply numerous filters to determine what is or is
not displayed from their chosen data sets. Completed maps can be shared
as KML files or embedded into blogs and websites.

Better World Flux is a free data visualization development tool that was created for the World Bank’s Apps for Development Challenge. The purpose of the challenge was to encourage app developers to create products that could be used to highlight the development data hosted by the World BankBetter World Flux allows users to create animated visualizations of development data. To use Better World Flux
(no registration required) all you have to do is select a data set from
the menu provided and select a country or countries from the menu
provided. From there Better World Flux creates an animated data
visualization for you. The visualization will change as the years on the
timeline at the bottom of the visualization change. This way users can
see growth and recession of a statistic over time.

Gapminder is a great tool for creating data visualizations. Gapminder gives
users the ability to create graphs of hundreds of demographic and
economic indicators. I like Gapminder because it provides a good way for
visual learners to see data sets in a context that is significantly
different from standard data sets. Gapminder has a page for educators on
which they can find thematic animations, graphs, quizzes, model
lessons, and a PDF guide to using Gapminder. For teachers working in
schools with slow Internet connections or very strict filtering,
Gapminder has a desktop application that you can download and install for Mac or Windows computers.

Infogr.am is an online tool for creating
interactive charts and graphs. Soon you will be able to create
interactive infographic posters on Infogr.am too. There are four basic chart types that you can create on Infogr.am;
bar, pie, line, and matrix. Each chart type can be edited to use any
spreadsheet information that you want to upload to your Infogr.am
account. The information in that spreadsheet will be displayed in your
customized chart. When you place your cursor over your completed chart
the spreadsheet information will appear in small pop-up window. Your
Infogr.am charts can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!