Info Viz Tools

I’ve been on the lookout for some decent information visualization tools lately. Does anyone know of any good tools, in particular map based tools, that offer some level of customization, as well as the ability to map out multiple variables? Since I don’t work day in day out in info viz, I don’t have a great sense of this space. Are there good general info viz softwares out there? How much of this work is done in Illustrator?

The Feltron Annual Report is built with Processing. Not a tool for the faint of heart, but an amazing result for info graphics.

Thanks for the recommendation nxact. Looks like powerful stuff.

One more thought, the scripting languages that are built into photoshop and illustrator are the best kept secrets. You could have PS read a file of information and plot out the points to the extents of your imagination. Pretty much any operation can be accessed and scripted with a variety of languages. applescript, javascript and vbscript. This is incredible power for handling huge images and large data sets with the image handling of PS. I’ve used the scripting extensively in PS and know the same is available in AI, not sure the full range of possibilities.

.ai files can also be programatically written with relative ease once you know the structure, they are just text, and brought into AI or PS and rendered over stock maps, etc.

Google maps has API’s if you are going for web based imagery, as well some PHP tools that work similarly.

To find good tutorials and help content, what search terms should I use?

My experience is in javascripting photoshop. Search for “Scripting photoshop” for tuts and examples. “photoshop javascript tutorials”
Adobe has a photoshop scripting reference book and pdf available as well. There are instructions in adobe support for turning on the scriptlistening plugin, which records each of your actions in PS in a text file so you can see the structure.

Next are all of the resources available for your scripting language of choice, all of the javascript functions are available for example, so all javascripting tutorials are appropriate.

Interesting… Do you have any examples ?

I mentioned many tools, there are examples for each tool on the net.

Propose a specific requirement for a visualization of data and I will propose an approach for the PS scripting solution.

Hey, thanks for the reply. Let me work through an example and I’ll get back to you. I found this today: A time-based transit map | The Economist which might be of interest to the discussion.