Preparing & Visualizing Original Data

(Based on Many Eyes’ Data Upload Tutorials)

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a PDF download of these instructions.

Data visualization refers to the visual re-presentation of information/data in a succinct and legible manner. ManyEyes, a free, web-based visualization tool, allows you to upload data sets and generate various types of visualizations from that data with ease. Though this tutorial spotlights the use of a digital tool, keep in mind that visualizations are fundamentally human constructs—tools for visual communication with as much potential to mis-inform as to inform. As you explore the ManyEyes library and go on to create your own visualizations, pay attention to data legibility and visualization appropriateness.

If you are only looking to experiment with the sites visualization features…

1. Explore the site’s existing library of data sets, a link to which is available on the site’s navigation menu.

2. Skip to step 3, labeled Visualizing Data, in the list of instructions below.

If you want to create a visualization using your own data, follow the steps below…

Before Getting Started

Create a ManyEyes account.

1. Navigate to using your web browser OR simply Google “Many Eyes” and click-thru.

2. Click “login” in the top right corner of the ManyEyes site and follow the instructions to create an account.

1. Preparing Data

Data visualization is a tool for furthering or representing research. It follows that the first step in visualizing data is collecting it.

The United States Census Bureau is a good source for quantitative dataaround a wide variety of topics.

If you’re looking to use visualization as a tool for text analysis, ProjectGutenberg provides free digital files of classic literature.

Once you have your data, you have to massage it, i.e. convert it to a form that ManyEyes can understand.

a. Data Tables
If your data is a list of values, format it into a simple table with
informative column headers in a program such as Excel. Make sure to label units of measure, if applicable.

b. Free Text
If your data is comprised of free text (such as an essay or a speech), open the data in a word processor or web browser.

2. Uploading Data

Under the section titled “Participate” in ManyEyes’ navigation menu, click “Upload a dataset.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 12.36.08 PM1. Highlight and copy your formatted data onto your clipboard by typing control-C (Windows) or command-C (Macintosh).

*This will be the same process for both a text files and Excel tables

2. Past your data into the provided space, typing control-V (Windows) or command-V (Macintosh).

*For files of a megabyte or more, there may be a delay

3. You will be provided with a preview of your data. Check that the table or text is represented correctly or adjust as needed.

4. Fill in the given fields to describe your data. This makes it searchable to the ManyEyes community.

3. Visualizing Data

After clicking “Create”, you will see a reformatted version of your dataset. Below it, click the blue “Visualize” button, You will be offered Visualization Types, conveniently organized by their various functions.

These include:

  • text analysis
  • comparing value sets
  • finding relationships among data points
  • seeing “parts of a whole”
  • mapping
  • tracking “rises and falls over time”

Read through the various options provided and choose which visualizationoption best suits your data.

Explore the various subsets and consider the different arguments varyingvisualization styles enable.

Next, you will be provided with a preview. Customize it as desired.

Once you are satisfied with your visualization, hit Publish.

Congratulations. You have completed a data visualization!

*For a PDF download of these instructions, click here.

(2013, Iman Salehian)


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