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Unformatted text preview: surprising number of highly robust tools for data visualization
and analysis that are available at no charge.
Here's a rundown of some of the better-known options, many of which were
demonstrated at the Computer-Assisted Reporting (CAR) conference last month.
Others are not as well known but show great promise. They range from easy enough for
a beginner (i.e., anyone who can do rudimentary spreadsheet data entry) to expert
(requiring hands-on coding). But they all share one important characteristic: They're
free. Your only investment: time.
Before you can analyze and visualize data, it often needs to be "cleaned." What does
that mean? Perhaps some entries list "New York City" while others say "New York, NY"
and you need to standardize them before you can see patterns. There might be some
records with misspellings or numerical data-entry errors. The following two tools are
designed to help get your data in tip-top shape to be analyzed.
22 data visualization tools •
• Data cleaning
Visualization applications and services
Code help: Wizards, libraries, APIs
GIS/mapping on the desktop
Temporal data analysis
Social and other network analysis DataWrangler
What it does: This Web-based service from Stanford University's Visualization Group is
designed for cleaning and rearranging data so it's in a form that other tools such as a
spreadsheet app can use.
Click on a row or column, and DataWrangler will suggest changes. For example, if you
click on a blank row, several suggestions pop up such as "delete row" or "delete empty
There's also a history list that allows for easy undo -- a feature that's also available
in Google Refine (reviewed next).
What's cool: Text editing is especially easy. For example, when I selected
"Alabama" in one row of sample data headlined "Reported crime in Alabama" and
then selected "Alaska" in the next group of data, it led to a suggestion to extract
every state name. Hover your mouse ove...
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- Fall '13