Reply To: What data viz tools are you using?

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Michael Edwards

Thank you Becky for your post to the RHINO Forum. I think that Excel is probably the “Go-To” tool for most people that work with taking raw data to the stage of visualization. I find that I use Microsoft Access for almost all of my data management tasks.
You also mentioned 3 powerful tools for GIS, in which one aspect of GIS is the visualization of spatial data. RHIS data is so conducive to geographic presentations, since facilities have geo-coordinates and are located within districts, regions and countries. Of the 3 tools you mentioned, I’m a big fan of QGIS. This is because it is freely available and open source. I know that the 2 ESRI products you mentioned, ARCGIS and ARCGIS online are the “Cadillac/Mercedes Benz” tools of the power users, but I find the pricing of these products as deal-breakers. Now I can see asking a developer to pay for a developer’s license, but I’m not a fan of paying an annual fee to use the software. So the challenge remains, what do we use for our web-based geographic visualizations? Although I’m currently using the Google Maps API, I find it works great for putting points on a map, but thematic or chloropleth maps I find more of a challenge, and I’m still looking for something more user-friendly that is freely available and open source.