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GIS and Data Visualization: Tools for Non-Programmers

Recommended Readings

Tools for Non-Programmers

Interested in data visualization but don't have the programming or design experience to get started? The following tools make it easy to create beautiful visualizations from your data in a few short steps. 

Raw is a web-based visualization tool that quickly transforms tabular data into stylized charts that are generated using the popular JavaScript visualization library D3.js ( After the user enters their data, Raw provides a series of prompts that allow the user to select and customize a chart or graph output from a handful of predetermined options. Output options include basic charts, like scatterplots and parallel coordinate plots, as well as more advanced visualizations, such as dendrograms and streamgraphs, making Raw useful for presenting a variety of quantitative and qualitative data. To customize the final product, the user has control over a handful of basic aesthetic parameters, including dimensions and color palettes, and the visualization can be exported (as vector, image, or JSON data) or embedded into another web page using the provided code.
Palladio is an open-source platform that makes it possible to quickly visualize textual data with geographic and temporal dimensions. Like Raw, Palladio accepts tabular data from CSV and other spreadsheet files. After data are ingested, several visualization outputs are available, including maps, graphs, timelines, and galleries. The user has control over basic chart parameters, including data layers and a handful of design options. Visualizations can be exported as vector files. More information about Palladio can be found at
ColorBrewer is an essential online tool for selecting color palettes that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also discernible by individuals with varying types of color blindness. ColorBrewer was originally developed to support color palette selection in designing maps, but it is useful for any visualization that displays quantitative or qualitative data using color.
Voyant Tools
Voyant is a multifaceted interface designed to simplify and streamline visual analysis of large textual corpora. The user supplies URLs of documents of interest or full texts, and Voyant automatically generates a summary of the corpus (including word frequencies and vocabulary density) as well as an interactive reader that generates basic visualizations and concordance analyses when the user clicks on a given word.
Datawrapper generates quick-and-dirty visualizations of data in four short steps from data upload to publishing. Users have the option to select from a handful of basic chart types, including bar charts, line charts, and pie charts, customize basic chart parameters, and optionally publish or embed the final product after registering a free account.
Textexture makes it easy to convert textual data into interactive network (node-link) diagrams for concordance analysis. Users must register for a free account before being able to upload their own data.
Directories of more data visualization tools and resources
Text Visualization Browser
A gallery of examples of ways to visualize text
DiRT: Digital Research Tools (Visualization)
A directory of various analytics and visualization tools
TAPoR: Text Analysis Portal for Research
A curated list of tools for textual analysis and data visualization
Text and Data Mining Subject Guide
The Northeastern University Libraries subject guide for text and data mining using library resources Selection
A list of favorite tools specifically for data visualization, featuring mainly tools for advanced users