Part 5: The essential collection of visualisation resources


This is the fifth part of a multi-part series designed to share with readers an inspiring collection of the most important, effective, useful and practical data visualisation resources. The series will cover visualisation tools, resources for sourcing and handling data, online learning tutorials, visualisation blogs, visualisation books and academic papers. Your feedback is most welcome to help capture any additions or revisions so that this collection can live up to its claim as the essential list of resources.


The Essential Visualisation Tools V

This fifth part presents the data visualisation tools associated with specific or specialist visualisation solutions and the online visualisation communities offering myriad of charting options and templates.

Please note, I may not have personally used all tools presented but have seen sufficient evidence of their value from other sources. Also, to avoid re-inventing the wheel, descriptive text may have been reproduced from the native websites for some resources.


Many Eyes

Many Eyes was created by the IBM Visual Communications Lab in 2007. It is a set of web-based data visualisation tools from IBM. The site allows users to upload data and then produce graphic representations, from a variety of available templates and types, for others to view and comment upon. As well as publicly publishing your own data and visualisation you can also view tens of thousands of other creations and contribute to discussions within the Many Eyes community about published visualisations.

Find out more information | Cost: Free | Tags: Visualisation Templates, Gallery, Community

Good examples and references: Visualisation Gallery | Visualisation Types | Tour

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011) is a soon-to-be launched website which will showcase and share more than 2,000 visualisations. It will also enable registered users to utilise tools to create their own web-based infographics and visualisations. The website will offer a low-cost version for individuals and a more advanced version for larger companies, with a free trial version. Not much more details are available at this stage, prior to launch, but all the signs are that it is likely to be popular service.

Find out more information | Cost: Free > Paid Licenses (Trial > £££) | Tags: Visualisation Templates, Infographics, Gallery, Community

Good examples and references: Fastco Design article | Business Journal article

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)


Visualizing Player

Visualizing Player 1.0 is the first-ever media player designed specifically for data visualisation. The main features of the Visualizing Player are that it is widely portable, enabling easy embedding and sharing, and is a universal platform through its support of countless creative formats, including hi-res graphics, HTML5, Java, Flash and video. It is especially useful for those who publish content on the web such as bloggers and designers themselves. The result is an ideal presentation and publishing format finally worthy of the work visualisation designers are creating, unleashing the pure aesthetic, full interactivity and insightful experiences as originally intended.

Find out more information | Cost: Free | Tags: Gallery, Multi-Platform, Viewer, Community

Good examples and references: Introductory post

Status: Ongoing (July 28, 2011)


Number Picture

Number Picture is a web application that enables you to create and share fresh templates for visualising data, approaches that can then be used by other people to visualise their data. These templates take data and aim to output it in such a way that is nice to look at, keeps the viewer engaged, and provides a refreshing change to all the millions of bar graphs and pie charts in our everyday lives. All templates that are created are free for anyone to use and all Number Pictures made are freely available for anybody to view. A premium membership is available to keep your Number Pictures private.

Find out more information | Cost: Free > Paid Membership | Tags: Visualisation Templates, Gallery, Develop

Good examples and references: Gallery | Guide | Profile on Infosthetics

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)


Parallel Sets

Developed by Robert Kosara and Caroline Ziemkiewicz, Parallel Sets (‘ParSets’) is an interactive visualisation application for presenting categorical data sets that provides a simple and effective way of exploring and analysing such data. This method, also known as parallel coordinates, facilitates the identification and recognition of patterns and relationships between categorical values. The application is free to download and is the underlying code is open-source.

Find out more information | Cost: Free | Tags: Categorical, Analysis, Open Source

Good examples and references: Posts about Parallel Sets on Eager Eyes | Download | Academic publication about parallel sets

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)



Dipity is a free digital timeline website with the mission being to organise the web’s content by date and time. Users can create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps. Dipity allows users to create free timelines online and there is also the option to set up a premium version.

Find out more information | Cost: Free > from $4.95 per month | Tags: Timeline, Interactive, Embeddable, Gallery

Good examples and references: Gallery of Hot Topics | About | FAQ

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)



Wordle is a tool for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts and colour schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Find out more information | Cost: Free | Tags: Word cloud, Textual, Web-based, Gallery

Good examples and references: Gallery | FAQ

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)



Similar to Wordle, Tagxedo turns any textual dataset (such as a Twitter timeline, a famous speech, news articles, lyrics) into visually stunning word clouds presented and constrained within a user-defined shape or image. With Tagxedo, you can customise the appearance of your word cloud in terms of font type, colour, size and underlying shape. You can then save the word cloud as images for printing and sharing.

Find out more information | Cost: Free| Tags: Word cloud, textual, web-based

Good examples and references: Gallery | Blog

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)


Visual Eyes

VisualEyes is a web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia. It allows users to create innovative, dynamic visualisations based on meaningful information in both traditional and multimedia formats, such as audio-video, animation, charts, maps, data, and interactive timelines. The effective use of the visualizations can reveal and illuminate relationships between multiple kinds of information across time and space far more effectively than words alone. VisualEyes is freely available for non-profit and academic usage.

Find out more information | Cost: Free (non-profit/academic) | Tags: Animation, Multimedia, Dynamic, Maps

Good examples and references: How it works | Tutorial | Tour of VisualEyes projects

Status: Ongoing (July 11, 2011)


Notable others… | A spinoff of the OpenHeatMap project, came out of work to fit text clouds inside irregular shapes like country boundaries, using modern client-side technologies.
Chartle | offers an online gallery of visualisation templates to allow users to upload data and publish their work, joining thousands within the online gallery.
Chartsbin | Chartsbin offers a vast online gallery of visualisations that have been derived from authentic sources such as books, government documents, technical reports, selected primary journal literature and websites. The ability to embed charts into other web sites and download compiled datasets will be available soon.
SimpleUsability – Eye Tracking | Eyetracking software provides designers with a insightful heatmap visualisation of the otherwise hidden observations and behaviours of users interacting with the design, interface and layout.
Fineo | Fineo is a web application which implements a visualization technique based on the visual model of Sankey diagrams.


That completes the fifth part of this collection of essential visualisation tools. Please leave any comments or feedback any suggestions you have to add to this collection or to enhance the detail presented above.

1 Comment

AndreaJuly 12th, 2011 at 7:20 am

Great tools! Thank you!