ManyEyes: Data-Rich Features on the Cheap

    by Lisa Williams
    April 23, 2008

    The web offers news organizations whole new ways to present complex stories to readers, but even the emergence of free tools hasn’t made online databases or Google Maps mashups a daily commonplace in your average news organization’s website. Often, that’s because the effort involved in building a rich, complex visualization is just too high for it to become an everyday occurrence.

    But what if those days are coming to a close? Enter ManyEyes, a free service created by one of IBM’s research labs that allows near-instant interactive visualizations of a data set. Your Excel spreadsheet of public job salaries and perks never looked so good.

    Best of all, the resulting visualizations are, like a YouTube video, embeddable in any web page, so you don’t have to feel as though you’re distracting readers by sending them to a new site with a new interface: they’ll see these nifty interactive visualizations right on your own pages.


    Here’s an example of a visualization based on data from Boston Magazine’s annual survey of area schools:

    I was introduced to ManyEyes by Emily Lin, who demonstrated it at a meeting at the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT’s Media Lab. Emily is a grad student in the TIE program at Harvard School of Education. Emily is working on a project to use Many Eyes in a high school English classroom.

    Tagged: center for future civic media google maps manyeyes mashups visualization
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