Build Stunning Visuals Using 59,000 Free Data Sets

In my last posting I wrote about how important visuals are when trying to be an effective communicator. If people aren’t able to believe, or believe in, what we say, then our words fall flat.  Probably the most revealing research findings I referred to are:

  • People believe what they see more than what they hear or read
  • 93 percent of emotional meaning is communicated nonverbally

So the obvious question is how to create visuals that compliment what you’re trying to say.  There’s a great free web resource to take complicated data and turn it into visuals.  It’s called Many Eyes and it’s part of IBM’s Collaborative User Experience research group, where they explore information visualizations that help people collectively make sense of data. The lab was created in 2004 by Martin Wattenberg, whose life goal is to turn numbers into pictures. Since then the lab has grown to include an eclectic group of researchers and developers.

Here’s what you can do:

  • View interesting facts and statistics on interactive visual charts.
  • Upload and share your own numbers and statistics (data sets) and build visual charts.
  • Build charts using more than 59,000 publicly available data sets.
  • Visualizations (charts) are free to view and comment on, with no signup.
  • Register to submit data sets, track activity and join topic hubs.

Create visualizations from existing data sets

One of the most exciting features of Many Eyes is the ability to create interactive visualizations from any of the data sets on the site. Finding the right way view your data is as much an art as a science. The visualizations provided on Many Eyes range from the ordinary to the experimental. They’re deliberately providing a wide array of possibilities so you can explore.

Go play with “Many Eyes” here: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes

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