Our Recommended Tools
When creating this book, we aimed to identify the most essential data visualization tasks that beginners are likely to face, and the digital toolkit needed to complete those tasks. In the prior section we listed ten factors that influenced our tool recommendations, such as being easy-to-learn, free or affordable, with powerful capacity. In this section, we have listed all of the tools featured in this book, with recommended uses and references to chapters where they appear, as shown in Table 2.1. Your data visualization projects may only require you to use only a small number of these, or perhaps even just one tool. But it’s important to be aware of the different types of tools, because you may not realize how they can help you if don’t know that they exist.
|Google Sheets spreadsheet/charts||Ch3||Ch5||Ch7||Ch3||Ch9|
|LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet/charts||Ch3|
|Airtable relational database||Ch3|
|Tabula PDF table extractor||Ch5|
|OpenRefine data cleaner||Ch5|
|Tableau Public charts/maps/tables||Ch7||Ch8||Ch8|
|Chart.js code templates||Ch12|
|Highcharts code templates||Ch12|
|Google My Maps point map maker||Ch8||Ch8|
|Leaflet map code templates||Ch13|
|GitHub edit & host code||Ch11|
|GitHub Desktop & Atom code editor||Ch11|
|GeoJson.io edit & draw geodata||Ch14|
|Mapshaper edit & join geodata||Ch14|
|MapWarper georectify images||Ch14|
In addition to the tools featured in Table 2.1, you’ll find several other useful tools mentioned in the text, including ColorBrewer to select map colors, the Geocoding by SmartMonkey add-on for Google Sheets, [US Census Geocoder for bulk addresses and census geography][bulk-geocode.html], and the Socrata open-repository chart and map tools. Also, consider enhancing your web security by installing the free Privacy Badger browser extension from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to view and exercise some control over who’s tracking you, and also review the EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense Guide.
Of course, we recognize that digital tools are continually changing and evolving. As time goes by, we expect that some tools will no longer be available, and we also anticipate discovering newer ones that do a better job in telling our data stories. If you’d like to recommend a tool that’s not currently on our list, email us at email@example.com or tweet us at handsondataviz, and tell us how it rates on the ten factors that guide our selection process above.