More "insightful" graphics
January 24th, 2007 by JTJ

Pardon the expression, but there seems to be a real “surge” in
infographics and visual statistics news in recent days.  This post on
Tim O'Reilly blog (an increasingly informative site, I find) points us to some
interesting tools out of the IBM shop.  Be sure to check out the site
for “Many Eyes.”  Impressive, and highly informative visualization of
useful data.

IBM Wants Many Eyes on Visualization

Posted: 23 Jan 2007 11:25 AM CST

By Tim O'Reilly

IBM today announced Many Eyes, a site for sharing and commenting on visualizations.
Martin Wattenberg, who developed the
original version of the treemap
we use for our book market visualizations as well as the awesome
baby name voyager
, and Fernanda Viegas, who worked with him on the equally awesome
history flow visualizations of Wikipedia, are the geniuses behind this project.

Many Eyes home page

As with swivel, users can upload any data set, but the tools for visualizing and graphing the data are much richer. The
visualization options
include US and World maps, line graphs, stack graphs, bar charts, block
histograms, bubble diagrams, scatter plots, network diagrams, pie
charts, and treemaps. The site isn't yet live, but should be very
shortly. Meanwhile, you can get a good sense of the types of graphs
available by checking out the visualization gallery.

I asked Martin and Fernanda how they compared themselves to swivel, and Fernanda replied:

You also asked if we see our site as “Swivel for
visualization”. That phrase isn't quite accurate (any more than Swivel
is “Many Eyes for data” ;-). Both our site and Swivel are examples of a
broader phenomenon, which we call “social data analysis,” where
playful, social exploration of data leads to serious analysis. At the
same time the two sites fall on different ends of a spectrum. Swivel
seems to have some neat data mining technology that finds correlations
automatically. By contrast, we've placed our emphasis on the power of
human visual intelligence to find patterns. My guess is that both
approaches will be successful because social data analysis is a
powerful idea.

Martin added:

In Many Eyes our goal is to “democratize” visualization by
offering it as a simple service. We also think that there's something
special about visualizations that gets people talking, so we placed a
big emphasis in design and technology to let people have conversations
around the visualizations.

Personally, I'd love to see swivel and manyeyes working together, as
swivel already has some great data sets, but has only a limited number
of graphing tools. But that's an exercise for the future. For now, data
wonks can just rejoice that both sites exist, and should start
exploring, and as Martin says, conversing about what they find. I love
both of these sites.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa