NICAR 2012 Free Data Visualization Tools: Resources

by Sharon Machlis, Online Managing Editor, Computerworld
Twitter: @sharon000

Chart of 22 free data visualization and analysis tools:
Accompanying Computerworld story:

Google Refine:
Screencast of how to reconcile a file in Google Refine with the U.K. OpenCorporates Web service (similar steps will work for other sources such as Freebase):


ESRI Mapping for Everyone:

Timothy Barmann's great QGIS tutorials:
Dynamic maps:

Google Fusion Tables:
Rebecca Shapley's Get More Out of Fusion Tables resource sheet:
Chrys Wu's How to make a heat map in Fusion Tables:

IBM's Many Eyes

Tableau Public:
Tips for formatting Excel data for use in Tableau, plus a link to an Excel plug-in:
Links to Tableau Public training materials:

MetroBoston DataCommon Weave-based examples from planner Susan Brunton:
Housing and transportation cost visualization:
My story about Weave on Computerworld:

R Project for Statistical Computing:
R for Statistics: First Steps (PDF) by Peter Aldhous
Hands-on R, a step-by-step tutorial (PDF) by Jacob Fenton
Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics by Nathan Yau (more info, not the actual book)

Google Charts wizard for JPG images: Note: A month after the NICAR 2012 conference, Google announced that they will be phasing out this tool over the next few years.
Google Visualization API: The Visualization API is still supported and was not affected by the phase-out announcement.
Michelle Minkoff's step-by-step tutorial on the Google Visualization API at Poynter:

JavaScript libraries:
InfoVis toolkit:

Exhibit (MIT SIMILE spinoff)

  Basic line:
  Zoomable time:

Mr. Data Converter - free tool by Shan Carter at the New York Times to turn Excel, csv or tab-delimited data into Web-friendly formats such as json or XML:
Web tool:
Source code: