Visuals are an essential means of data dissemination. They help to simplify complex concepts and large amounts of information. The type of data you’re working with will determine what kind of mapping or data visualization tool you’re going to use. For example, location-based data is best visualized with a map, whereas comparative information is best shown with a bar chart.
There are a number of different types of mapping and data visualization tools available. In this article, we’re going to look at seven free mapping and data visualization tools that are also easy to use.
A flourish is a straightforward tool that allows you to create maps, charts, and interactive stories. Its different visualization and animation options make it particularly well suited to data storytelling. It features a broad selection of charts and maps as well as bar races, quizzes, and carousels. You can also create “scrolly” stories without having to use custom code. Furthermore, you can share your vision through social media or embed it on your website.
Maps are a great way to visualize your location-based data. Maptive lets you create intuitive maps that can be downloaded or shared easily. With this tool, you can color-code your map markers and group them. You can also customize your map by adding text bubbles, shapes, labels, icons, and images. The free mapping software option allows you to upload up to 250 locations and create up to five maps. However, you do get a 10-day free trial that includes the use of their premium features.
With Datawrapper, you can create interactive maps, charts, and tables. You don’t need to have any design skills to operate this software, as all the design rules have already been incorporated into this tool’s features. Furthermore, you can read everything you create with Datawrapper on any device. Their free plan allows you to create and publish an unlimited amount of charts, maps, and tables, however, it will include the Datawrapper logo.
Chartblocks lets you create immersive content without requiring a single line of code. As the name suggests, this tool specializes in charts. Some of the types of charts available include bar, scatter, line, and pie. Chartblocks integrates with Facebook and Twitter, so you can easily share your charts on social media. Furthermore, charts can be exported as PNG images or vector graphics. However, it will have the Charblocks logo.
With Infogram, you can create both charts and infographics. This tool offers over 37 different interactive chart types and allows you to make up to 10 projects with up to five pages per project. It also provides 13 map types. Charts or infographics can be animated, allowing you to make objects zoom, bounce, fade, flip, and slide. Additionally, you can add things such as graphics and shapes to your visualizations. Furthermore, Infogram supports fully responsive embeds and supports Facebook Instant Articles, Medium, and WordPress.
- Knight Lab
Storytelling through visualization is no easy task, but Knight Lab allows you to tell stories with annotated and interactive maps, timelines, and line charts. All you need to get started is a Google Spreadsheet. Knight Lab is capable of pulling media from various sources, including Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo. Vine, Dailymotion, Google Maps, Wikipedia, SoundCloud, and Document Cloud. Furthermore, if you have JSON skills, you can create custom installations to add to your map, timeline, or line chart.
- Tableau Public
This free platform allows you to share and explore data visualizations online. With Tableau Public, you can quickly build interactive maps, graphs, and live dashboards. This can all be done without coding. The platform can handle millions of viewers and does not charge you for these views. Furthermore, you can embed your visualizations on your website or share them on social media.
When dealing with a wealth of information, you need a way to disseminate it in a way that’s easy to understand. Mapping and data visualization tools are an excellent way to present complex data. You can use these tools to visualize data through charts, maps, and timelines. Fortunately, as the above list demonstrates, you don’t need to be a coding expert or spend a lot of money to create a visual display of information.