Data Viz For The Masses

on Tuesday, Jul. 15th

Maps! Who doesn’t love maps? They’re even better when they are interactive, but they are BEST when they are used as data visualization tools that get complex ideas across in a visual format. With pretty colors.

The problem with maps, especially data visualization maps, is that they take a lot of time to design and get just right. Which is where Tableau Software and the design firm Stamen come into the picture. Wired Design’s Margaret Rhodes has the skinny on how these two companies have gotten together to open up the map making horizon for everybody:

[The] entire point of Tableau’s software update is to create a sophisticated cartography tool for anyone. Map-makers simply upload a .csv file of data into Tableau, and then get to select a template from Stamen’s canon of maps. This meant creating three map templates that are flexible enough to complement the color scheme and data density of an unknown user. “People put all kinds of stuff on Tableau,” Rodenbeck says. “It’s not just driving routes, or geographic information services.” Data could be about anything—voters, the weather, even patterns in birthday parties.

Tableau Public is available as a free download for PC and Mac.

Image: Tableau


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