Data visualization and the art of conveying information

Sasha Dzeletovic

This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.

As a coder, I go over the tremendous amount of information on daily basis. My case is no different than anybody’s else living in the world today. Regardless of where we live and how we spend our time we are saturated with all kinds of information, a lot of it that we don’t care about and a lot of it that we wish we had fast access to, if at all.

Ironically, computer technology adds to the problem more often than not. All that computational power is often just creating more data that we will never experience because there’s just too much of it everywhere and all the time. Traditional techniques of consuming information are becoming too slow and narrow to handle this kind of pace.

We have all heard that a “picture speaks a thousand words”. Doesn’t that sound like an efficient way to consume information? Now, there are pictures and there are pictures.

There are pictures that strike a cord with you and there are pictures that leave you bland. Which one are you more likely to remember and allot the time of your mind?

Here are some libraries for data visualization in Flex/Flash as well as some artful experiments that I found to be good tools/examples of data visualization.

Flare is a very comprehensive library ranging from graph and charts to timelines and treemaps and then some.

yWorks offers the same graphing solution for Flex, Ajax, .NET

Solutions include DOM Tree, Graph Canvas, Drag and Drop, Collapsible Tree, GraphWikiand they are all very well documented.
Flex Examples

ILOG Elixir
ILOG Elixir offers 3D Charts, Gauges and Dials, Map Displays, Gantt Charts, Organization Charts, Treemap Charts and Radar Charts.
All demos can be found here.

SpringGraph is a lovely Flex component that deals as its name says – a Spring Graph, which is a self arranging graph.
Example 1: Roamer Demo
Example 2: Molecule Viewer shows beautiful visual experiments with algorithms. Their business application is yet to be discovered.

Mathieu Badimon Lab
Mathieu has published a few eye-catching experiments.

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