Monday, February 12, 2007

Many Eyes - A New Doorway for Graphical Collaboration

From our previous post we noted that:
We believe in many eyes, many hands, many voices working together on the path of mutual discovery (rather than the idea of a single expert figuring it all out and presenting it to us in final form).
To help foster exactly this kind of process, I am excited to note a new web site, Many Eyes that is now available for exactly this purpose. As they describe it on their home page: Many Eyes is a place to: view your data, ask questions, share your discoveries, and harness the collective intelligence of the net for insight and analysis.

Once you register, you can upload interesting data sets and create visualizations that you feel are meaningful. Others can view your visualization and comment. They can also create their own variant visualizations using the data you uploaded and publish these for others to view and comment. Many different visualization formats including time series graphs, bar charts, scatter charts as well as some very creative new chart types are available in an interactive fashion. Creating new charts is similar to the kinds of interactions you might experience with one of the many stock quote charting web sites such as the java charts on

Even better, once a data set is uploaded by anyone, it is possible someone else to download that data set for further analysis on their system using their favorite tools. For example, you might want to take a set of raw time line data series and compute some additional columns of data as we did in one of our previous Iraq posts. You could then take your new data set with added columns and upload it to Many Eyes for others to work with directly.

To test out these capabilities, I uploaded the O'Hanlon indicators that we have recently posted about. You can find a visualization that shows a single indicator that I created at: Percent of Coalition Troops Appears to be Shrinking. Once you get to that page, you can select other indicators from the list box on the left side to view the other trends at work. You can also download the entire table to your computer or leave a comment or create at publish your own chart. [Unfortunately, at present the long indicator names cannot be fully seen during the selectino process. So if you want to know what they are, you can find out by clicking on the table like icon element to look at and scroll through the top row of the data set where the indicator names appear]

I see Many Eyes (what a great name) as a big step forward in thinking about, discussing, understanding, and collaborating about the most important factors in our lives. I expect I will be uploading additional data sets and creating new visualizations there in the future. I would love to hear what you think about his newly available capability.

No comments: