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January 27, 2007

Many Eyes and the rise of data for the people

typical Many Eyes data chart

If knowledge is power, then a clear interactive visualization of data is power on steroids. And in the past few months there's been an explosion of tools that let the average duffer create powerful data displays. A few weeks ago Swivel appeared, with the promise of doing for data what flickr has done for photos. Now IBM alphaWorks has rolled out their free data visualization suite, called Many Eyes.

Many Eyes lets you upload data and then show that data in lots of different ways...treemaps, pie charts, on world and U.S. maps, scatter graphs, stack graphs, and lots more. And since the data runs inside of java applets the displays are interactive, allowing the user to turn data on and off, zoom in and out, change colors, etc.

Right now you can link to the completed data chart, but you can't embed it directly in your own page. But I'm sure that's coming...being able to embed an interactive chart the way you can embed a YouTube video is just too powerful a feature not to offer.

By the way, IBM's alphaWorks may be the best-kept secret in the world of online hacking. They seem to knock out all sorts of crazy tools and ideas on a regular basis.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at January 27, 2007 06:57 AM