Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
Last week a member of the NMC listserve asked members of the list to recommend graphing software that goes beyond simple plots and enables "interesting", media based plots. Several members made recommendations and provided links. Their interactions sent me off exploring "shiny objects". The following is a list of the some of the visual graphing treasures found on the listserve and through my explorations. I hope that you find a few treasures in this posting for your toolkit.
AnyChart – provides a Flash based solution to creating interactive, attractive charts.
Axiis– is a Data Visualization Framework for Flex that is designed to let developers and designers to create compelling data visualization solutions. (product is currently in beta)
BirdEye – is a community project to advance the design and development of a comprehensive open source information visualization and visual analytics library for Adobe Flex.
Chart.io – provides a simple tool to create charts and dashboards from data sets.
Degrafa – is a declarative graphics framework for creating data visualization and mapping.
Dundas – "Dundas has a wide range of data visualization solutions for Microsoft technologies." The product family includes: charts, gauges, maps, calendars, and digital dashboards.
Flare – "Flare is an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player. From basic charts and graphs to complex interactive graphics, the toolkit supports data management, visual encoding, animation, and interaction techniques."
Flex Monster – provides an internet application designed to view, analyze and manage multidimensional data online.
Fusion Charts – offers a wide variety of 2D/3D interactive chart types that can be used in web and desktop applications.
Gapminder – provides worldwide statistical data in an engaging interactive format.
GeoAnalytics Visualization (GAV) – "is a component toolkit developed by Linkoping University for dynamically exploring time-varying, geographically referenced and multivariate attributes simultaneously and to enable the capture of the interactive visual process into information packages"
Google Chart API – can generate many kinds of charts that can be embedded into web based applications.
Google Motion Charts – allows you to create dynamic charts to explore several indicators over time utilizing a visualization API. The charts are rendered as Flash videos.
JFree Chart – provides a Java chart library for developers to aid in the creation of high quality charts for a variety of applications.
JPowered – provides PHP graphing scripts that assist with the generation and embedding of graphs and charts into PHP applications.
Kap IT Labs Diagrammer and Visualizer – this tool provides a ready-to-use yet highly customizable multi-layout data visualization and diagramming for Adobe Flex and Air.
Many Eyes – provides a collection of data visualizations. On the Many Eyes site you can view and discuss visualizations and data sets, create visualizations from existing data sets, and upload your own data sets. Note: you will have to create an account to upload your own data.
MilkChart – a simple to use, open source library for transforming table data into a char. Note: this library uses HTML5 tags and is only supported in browsers other than IE.
Omgili – lets you measure and compare the percentage of a term out of the total number of discussions Omgili covers on specific dates. You can also embed the graph inside any web page.
Open Flash Charts – is an open sources Flash based chart generation tool. The site provides packaged software and a clear set of tutorials that assist in getting started with the product.
Prefuse – is a Java-based toolkit for building interactive information visualization applications. (The toolkit is currently in beta.)
Protovis – allows you to create custom vies of data with simple marks such as bars and dots. The bars and dots properties encode data, allowing inheritance, scales and layout to simplify construction of graphs.
R Project for Statistical Computing – is a "free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS."
Swivel – provides a web-based data graphing solutions. Swivel is free for public data, and charges a monthly fee to people who want to use it in private."
Tableau Public – provides a free data visualization tool that can be embedded into websites or the shared.
UUorld – "(pronounced "world") provides an immersive mapping environment, high-quality data, and critical analysis tools."
VisiFire – "provides a set of data visualization controls powered by Microsoft Silverlight and WPF. It can be used with ASP, ASP.net, SharePoint, PHP, JSP, ColdFusion, Python, Ruby or in standalone HTML pages."
Amaztype, a typographic book search, collects the information from Amazon and presents it in the form of keyword you’ve provided. To get more information about a given book, simply click on it. Similar idea is being used by Flickrtime. The tool uses Flickr API to present the uploaded images in real-time. The images form the clock which shows the current time.
CrazyEgg lets you explore the behavior of your visitors with a heat map. More popular sections, which are clicked more often, are highlighted as “warm” – in red color.
Elastic Lists demonstrates the “elastic list” principle for browsing multi-faceted data structures. You can click any number of list entries to query the database for a combination of the selected attributes. The approach visualizes relative proportions (weights) of metadata by size and visualizes characteristics of a metadata weight by brightness.
Munterbund showcases the results of research graphical visualization of text similarities in essays in a book.
Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. The size of data blocks is defined by their popularity at the moment.
Visual Complexity – "intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks."
Voyage is an RSS-feeder which displays the latest news in the “gravity area”. News can be zoomed in and out. The navigation is possible with a timeline.
Websites as graphs. An HTML DOM Visualizer Applet, which displays sites as graphs depending on the amount of links, tables, div tags, images, forms and other tags.