Visualizing data

Early in my professional life I recognized that the world is swimming in data (raw numbers) and that too little of it ever becomes information (actionable). A former boss was so passionate about this subject that he co-founded Statability to work on this full time. While I never see myself tackling this as my profession, it is one of the biggest challenges I face. And the best way I've found to turn data into information is by presenting the data in a graphical format which only then becomes relevant and actionable.

In 1983 Edward Tufte became every data-geek's hero when he wrote The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which was revised in 2001. It's a fascinating book for those of us trying to turn data into information. And while you can even learn directly from this master, Tufte doesn't offer any web 2.0 tools to assist in this task. Fortunately others do.

Swivel is such a company. I've spent a good amount of time with this site, and it's definitely worth a look though the functionality is pretty basic.

After watching Hans Rosling's presentation at TED, I'm fascinated by the product behind his data and am anxiously awaiting Gapminder. The company is working with Google to enable people to use their own data with the product, but this feature is still in development.

And while it's beyond the scope of my limited needs, ILOG appears to have an interesting "experimental visualization tool for analyzing data sets intuitively" in its ILOG Discovery Preview application. Lastly, I Googled the topic and stumbled upon Data360, EditGrid, 1010Data, and many eyes, all of which I need to look into. Do any readers have recommendations for other web tools to turn data into information?