Cool Data Visualization Sites


I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with some Avalon team members in my new position as Technical Evangelist, and one of the Avalon topics that often comes up is Data (or Information) Visualization. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it might help to read Grokking the infoviz, an older—but still relevant—article from Economist.com. I’m certainly not the person to look to for an official definition, but my own short description would be: “a method of graphically visualizing and navigating through large amounts of data.” Most of the compelling demonstrations that I’ve seen involve some kind of animation that helps illustrate relationships and patterns in the data.


One of our e-mail threads today pointed out a site that uses data visualization to illustrate the popularity of baby names. The application is called NameVoyager. I’m impressed at the simplicity of the interface and the amount of data that can be mined in only a few simple keystrokes. It’s also very easy to see the relationships between names. Kudos to The Baby Name Wizard.


Here are some other interesting sites that I’ve run across in the past that I’d classify as data visualization:



As I alluded to earlier, Avalon enables some very rich data visualization scenarios, and I can’t wait to see what people are able to do with it.


I’m sure I’ve missed some other cool sites…feel free to refer to them in feedback.


Update: Check out information aesthetics for links to some other interesting data visualization sites.

Comments (7)

  1. Don’t forget these longhorn concept videos which touch on visualisation aspects:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/Longhorn/productinfo/conceptvid/default.aspx

  2. The NameVoyager is a great example which demonstrates the potential for interesting and innovative solutions, regardless of the content.

    A really interesting app that is no longer around is the original NewsMaps…not to be confused with the link that you posted, this one used topographical cues to communicate news relevancy/frequency: http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb0426-1.htm

    There’s always a balance between visual appeal and usefuless–no one has really optimized both sides of the scale yet. In this case, named simply "10×10," the visual appeal far outweighs the actual value of the tool: http://www.tenbyten.org/now.html

    YANMS (Yet another NewsMap Site) http://www.newsisfree.com/newsmap/top.php. Special attention paid to the many filters and UI controls surrounding the content display.

  3. My manager mentioned another couple of sites today that are worth checking out: http://www.tenbyten.org/ and http://birthday.yahoo.com/netrospective/.

  4. another good choice is the classic book from Edward Tufte, <i>The Visual Display of Quantitative Information</a>.

    excellent read.

  5. Paul Murray says:

    Have a look at

    http://www.users.bigpond.com/pmurray/Java/TolFrame.html

    It’s a java applet that pulls data from the University of Arizona’s "Tree Of Life" project.

  6. Walter says:

    I’m working on a related project called RhNav, aVisualization Application Framework for building Navigation Interfaces based on Attention Data and User Behavior Analysis. It provides 3D navigation interfaces to explore and manipulate various data sources like access logs from web servers, aggregated attention data, file systems or databases. If you’re interested, take a look at http://www.rafelsberger.at/rhnav.

    Kind regards,

    Walter