Help needed: looking for data visualisation tools

The Tactical Technology Collective has asked me to update the “Visualisation Tools and Resources” section of “Drawing by Numbers”. Do you know any tools for data visualisation that you can recommend and that you think should be included? Please tell me.

The tools fall under four categories:

  • Charts and graphs
  • Mapping and mashups
  • Design, layout and presentation
  • Data management tools

In addition all tools should be free since a lot of them will be used by Human Rights organizations in countries where they don’t necessarily have credit cards.

So if you know of any software or web service that can help to make data more understandable and more visual, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Update: The reviews are now online.

  • Hi Tim, we've listed quiet a few on our site. I can't remember all of them. Ones that come to mind immediately are some of the social media visualisation tools: bloom's fizz, media cloud, recorded future, instedd riff. The European Media Monitor analyses conventional media, but not really a visualisation tool per se. Anyway, you can have a scroll through our site – we've got nearly 800 projects, products and initiatives relating to ICT in emergency so your bound to find a fair few there. Good luck! ps: If you find some interesting ones that aren't on our site and relate to emergency management it would be great if you could add them – it's a crowdsourced project.

  • Good article on how to make infographics – hope it helps!

    • Thanks! This is certainly helpful!

  • Google Docs + Fusion Tables is a pretty interesting way of mapping complex data, even beyond what Ushahidi can do, but real time updates require some complex scripting and the integration with Google Docs is not what it could be.

    At university I tried to push students towards Manyeyes, Google Public Data Explorer and Tableaux Public, but they tend to be quite complicated to use., however, is simple and brilliant.

    • Thanks, Andy. I like "simple and brilliant"

  • Amazing… I have just been looking into all this myself.

    There's some good interactive visualisations here:

    It's what the brilliant Guardian Datablog uses (UK newspaper).

    But it's not all about the software – just like the jokes – it's how you tell them ….
    See this cool course:

  • just reading the article – catching up with my feeds after the holidays 😉 recently i've come across haven't used myself (yet) but looks interesting. some more tools are available in this comprehensive list from

    hope this helps

    • Thanks! I'll take a look at Stat Silk.

  • ABM

    Tableau Public is fantastic, though there are limitations around confidentiality of what you produce in that program. The paid client is fantastic too, but I know you said that price was a limitation.