7 free and useful data visualization tools reviewed

Timeline created with TimelineSetter

This multimedia Timeline, created with TimelineSetter, shows events that happened in various countries during the so called “Arab Spring”

I just finished a short project for the Tactical Technology Collective where I reviewed seven free tools that can be used to manipulate or visualize data. The reviews are now online:

  • D3
    a sophisticated, code-based toolkit that helps you create exceptionally rich and complex data driven visualizations. D3 can do absolutely stunning and amazing visualization, but unfortunately it’s also really difficult to use.
  • Dapper
    an oldie but goody: Dapper is a a free tool that automatically extracts content from websites and publishes it in different formats which you can reuse.
  • Infogr.am
    a web service that lets you create simple online infographics and charts. Infogr.am just released a new version two weeks ago and is now much more powerful than before. It’s a new favourite of mine when it comes to throwing something together quickly.
  • RSSmapper
    an easy-to-use web service that automatically maps news from any RSS feed. This is great if you have a newsfeed and want to show where news are happening.
  • Tilemill
    is a desktop software that can turn GIS based data into beautiful thematic maps.
  • TimelineSettter
    is your best choice if you want to show how a sequence of events unfolded over time and you have text, photos, audio and video to illustrate it. Seriously, TimelineSetter is great – but unfortunately only if you have a computer running MacOS or Unix.
  • Yahoo Pipes
    is another long time favourite of mine: it’s been around for a long time and it has been neglected by Yahoo for year, but it’s still a great tool if you want to grab, mix and filter data before displaying the results in feeds, lists or on maps.

My thanks go to everybody who helped me collect these tools!


  1. Doris Edwards November 1, 2012
  2. kitokid April 21, 2014