Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Iraq Trend Data Set now posted to Swivel and Many Eyes

A while back we mentioned the great new data sharing and visualization web site called Many Eyes and we pointed out an Iraq Trend data set we had uploaded so that others could more readily examine and analyze it.

We've recently come across another great new data sharing and visualization web site called Swivel and have uploaded the same data set there for comparison purposes at:

Both Many Eyes and Swivel fall into a category I have started calling Trend Visualization Appliances. The amazing Gapminder work also fits into this category as do all the various stock market visualization tools currently available.

The old fashioned form of trend visualization appliances (e.g. a standard report including graphical output) can still be pretty useful when managed carefully. For further comparison, here is the link to a PDF report that graphically presents the same data - vizualizing-trends-ohanlon-testimony.pdf.

Similarly, for data sharing, the old fashioned URL links to csv files offer an alternative to the WEB 2.0 mechanisms such as Many Eyes and Swivel. Here's the Iraq trend data the old fashioned way: ohanlon-key-factors.csv

So many choices, so little time. How can we decide which is best for our purposes?

I'll be revisiting this topic, but for now, my own criteria for deciding which tools I will use at a given moment are:
1) ease of use,
2) shortness of learning curve, and
3) personal productivity and time saving -- the speed at which I can navigate through complex trend data sets to discover previously hidden patterns.

What do you think?