40+ Visualization Tools for dashboards and social business

Lets face it…

There is so much data that it is an incredible task to actually comprehend it.

Like looking at a TV screen full of static…
trying to rationalize if one pixel means something.

In order to make the data actionable we need to really focus on tools to clarify what we are looking at.

We need to think about

  • the process of tuning into a specific channel
  • of segmenting data
  • of communicating the significance of that data
  • of doing SOMETHING with the data

To that end I’ve collected another list of tools that specifically help with visualizing different types of information.

Keep in mind that some of these tools just need ‘some play time’ where you trial and test different types of data until they begin to make sense to you, your audience, and your business.

You should always keep in mind

  • Some people are intellectual and other people are creative.
  • Some people visualize numbers and some people visualize pictures.
  • Some people read the line, others read in-between the line.
  • Some people think as individuals, others think as groups.
  • Brilliancy and genius is simple and straight-forward

If you have a visualization tool we’d love to check it out.
Please offer your recommendations in the discussion area below!


 “Easy to Use” Visualization Tools

  • Taggalaxy.de
    Tag Galaxy is a very straight-forward visualization tool for clustering images based on tags and for exploring them in a simple user interface. The developer has setup some popular tags to begin exploring on the homepage, but you can easily search for your name, business, or popular industry hashtag.
  • Visual.ly
    Is an application that allows you to create and explore visualization based on different types of social media data. They also have a fairly extensive gallery of infographics covering a wide range of topics.
  • TouchGraph
    Is both a free and paid tool, giving options to explore Google Search graphs, URL clusters, and Facebook graphs. It has many additional options for color coding networks and finding connective points between clusters.

  Social Media Oriented Tools

  • Google+ Ripples
    This is a hidden gem, often overlooked by many. It allows you to see the way any URL has been shared by users on Google+, clustering networks around influencers on a topic and providing a timeline feature that allows you to watch how a URL spread through-out a network. 
  • Revisit (image below)
    This is a great Twitter visualization that allows you to see clustering and communication signals over the course of a specific timeframe. For social media managers and data analyst it is a good example to how some topics make a ‘big splash’ and other topics have staying power.
  • Tweet Spectrum
    Great way to find words around related tweets and similar topics

 Charting Oriented Tools

  • Google Fusion Tables
    Useful tool that has csv and Excel options, along with a wide variety of hidden tricks (a few searches on Google)We all know about the powerhouse that is Google.
  • Many Eyes
    A useful data visualization tool by IBM, offering a variety of sample data sets to create visualizations to explore.

Web Content Based Tools

  • RSSvoyage.com
    Provides a flowing based visualization of RSS feeds. Articles ‘fly by’ as the RSS feed updates.
  • WikiMindMap
    This is actually a very useful tool for understanding Wikipedia and what topics people feel are important enough to detail, segment, and annotate. Great for social research.
  • Dipity
    Create timelines… about whatever topic you like. Import RSS, pin markers, add hyperlink to photos,video, etc
  • HTML Graph
    This is more artistic than useful; it simply breaks out a color coded visualization of a site based on common HTML components.

(image left)

If you want to see how the world news is currently trending, Newsmap gives you a color coded segmentation of trending topics across major news portals. You can select filters according to country, as well as limit results to what is happening in the last ten minutes.

 Personal Visualization Tools

  • Visualize.me
    Connects with your Linkedin account and creates a personalized infographic of your professional life. Has multiple control options for fonts, colors, and background.
  • InMaps – LinkedIn
    (see previous post, Influence Analysis with Linkedin InMaps)
    Provides a way of examining your Linkedin network and the relationships that interconnect everyone, with color coding features to highlight certain key networks so that you can visually see ‘how’ people are connected (through employers, industry groups, and personal networks.)

    About Barry Hurd
    Barry Hurd About.Me Page
  • Biogrify
    In closed beta, a different way to capture yourself on line in creative way.
  • Vizify TweetSheet
    Vizify’s TweetSheet showcases revealing details from your tweetstream, including: top followers, geographic impact, most-retweeted posts, and more.
  • Re.vu
    This takes your Linkedin data and creates a visual resume from it.
  • Kinzaa
    If you want timelines and infographics on your resume, this provides some simple tools for making one.
  • About.Me
    If the above tools don’t work, About.Me lets you create a fast landing page for yourself.

Word Based Tools

  • Tagxedo
    A straight-forward ‘word cloud’ visualization tool. It can form word clouds from blogs, tweets, tags, rss feeds, and text import. Allows you to control the shape of the word cloud (import a company logo…) or have font/color changes.
  • Wordle
    Another fast and friendly word cloud tool that allows you to make clouds from almost any text source.
  • Tag Crowd
    If Tagxedo or Wordle don’t work for you, Tag Crowd is a third option that has slightly different controls.

Map Based Visualization Tools

All of these tools do one thing… visual data on a map.

Chart Based Visualization Tools

Data Sources (the stuff to Visualize!)

  • Copernic
    Copernix is a piece of software that accesses multiple search engines using one interface. It aggregates the information, provides multiple filter options, saves search records, highlights keywords, and allows import/export of the results.
  • Yahoo Pipes
    This isn’t really a data source, but a web based tool that allows you to aggregate, mash-up, and syndicate other sources of data. It is incredibly useful as a tool to build ‘minimum viable models’ for web research (but does have a learning curve.)
  • GNIP
    Gnip provides data from dozens of top social sites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to Youtube and Vimeo. By using a single API it allows you to access thousands of data fields that can be extracted for all sorts of competitive intelligence on businesses, community audiences, and specific people.
  • DataSift
    Is another social media data provider. They have a tremendous amount of information available (some overlap with Gnip, some is unique.) It is one of the few social media data providers that can provide full access to the Twitter firehose.
  • Spinn3r
    Yet another social media data company, but with focus on real-time indexing of the blogosphere or content that you specifically want. Very useful for  processing large amounts of social content found on niche community sites that don’t make it onto Gnip or Datasift’s lists.


(for hard core users)

data-visualization-tools Datavisualization.ch

It features a great selection of 40+ scripts and files that you can use to create some great visualizations. These are mostly javascript functions, so you’ll have to know a bit of coding to implement.

Axiis is an open source set of visualization tools that allows advanced charting and visualization on a variety of different data sets. They have a few colorful examples, such as a breakdown of browser usage month-by-month since 2002. This is a useful data-driven toolset, allowing complex charting visualization with mouse over effects for embedding results on the web.

Like Photoshop for data. Graph visualization and manipulation software. Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs.

Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Gephi is open-source and free.

Other Developer Scripts and Codes

Hopefully these tools give you some remarkable new ways to create insight to your data.

If you can recommend a tool, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading

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