Data Visualization

Visualising Data

Visualising data is quite a challenge. The range of tasks, challenges and target audience varies widely. Nevertheless, the graphic preparation of the research data is a good way to interpret and communicate your own results during and after your research. This can take place in a wide variety of forms, such as diagrams, organizational charts, animations, etc.

The selection of visualization methods always depends on your own research area and the question for which the data were collected. In the following you can find some examples and further literature references that can help you visualize your data.

Examples of Data Visualization

Here are various visual representations of visualisations. There are almost infinite possibilities to visualise your own research data. Therefore, these examples are only intended as a small suggestion.

Examples of Data Graphs

Development Nocturnal Boundary Layer by Martin Kunz
fig06 by ATTO Projekt
figS12 by ATTO Projekt
Spectra by Ronald Seidel

Examples of Data Maps

fig08 by ATTO Projekt
figS11 by ATTO Projekt
preview_12 by Rafaela Flach
figS19 by ATTO Projekt

Examples of Sequences and 3D Data Systems

Or85a sequence alignment by Veit Grabe
notch 1 LOBEYNESS_JET 1-1.15 by Neha Bhatia
Fig.2c by Bibliothek MPIKG
AVG_Dvirilis_L_a_lambda_01_z_A2_LUmanual.czi (RGB) by Veit Grabe

Examples of Tools for Data Visualization

Tool NameShort ExplanationLink
Adobe Creative CloudAdobe products offer applications with functions for graphical, web, and image design, video and audio editing; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL
Affinity Designer, Publisher and PhotoAffinity offers graphics, drawing and image editing programms; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL
BioRenderAn online tool that helps scientists to create and share professional science figures; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL SoLi.
CLARIAH-DE: Analysing and Processing DataFinding Tools for Data-based
DARIAH-DE Geo-BrowserThis tools allows a comparative visualization with correlations of geographic spatial relations and corresponding time sequences.
Datasheet EditorDatasheet Editor to prepare and setup your data to be visualized within the DARIAH-DE Geo-Browser.
DatawrapperCommercial online tool for visualizing data in a low-threshold
D3 Data-Driven Documents (D3.js)JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data, with powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to DOM manipulation.
Grafana Analytic PlattformCommerical analytics platform for all metrics with many visualisation
Google ChartsCommercial service provider with many visualisation options for data.
hdlab at Stanford UniversityDifferent open source tools for research and visualizations.
ImageJOpen Source software, written in Java, for visualising data.
MapleMaple is an application for analytical solutions and equations as well as symbolic computations and data visualization; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL
MathematicaMathematica offers functions for solving tasks from engineering, financial and actuarial mathematics, mathematics, statistics, physics, chemical computing, and the natural sciences; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL
MatLabMatLab is a numeric computing environment; centrally licensed for MPG via MPDL
Open Knowledge Foundation Germany: Open Data ToolsTools to explore, publish and share public
OpenLayersOpen Source software for visualising spatial
OpenMicroscopySoftware for reading proprietary microscopy image data and
PolymapsA JavaScript library for image- and vector-tiled maps using
This table includes both non-commercial and commercial visualisation solutions. Of course, this list can never be complete. If you nevertheless missed a particularly prominent solution, write to us.

Design Texts about Data Visualization

D. McCandless: Information is Beautiful,

Web Designer Depot (2009): 50 Great Examples of Data Visualization,

Overview on Data Visualising Software by Capterra:

Steve Vertovec, Data Visualization (MPI MMG):

Further Reading on Data Visualization

B. Berendt, J. Vanschoren, B. Gao (2011): Datenanalyse und -visualisierung, In: Handbuch Forschungsdatenmanagement, edit. by S. Büttner, H.-C. Hobohm, L. Müller, Bock + Herchen Verlag, pp. 139–48.

J. Hilden, J. Koponen (2019): Data Visualization Handbook, Aalto University, Helsinki & Espoo.

Nazemi, K., Kaupp, L., Burkhardt, D., & Below, N. (2021). Datenvisualisierung. In M. Putnings, H. Neuroth, & J. Neumann (Eds.), Praxishandbuch Forschungsdatenmanagement (pp. 477–502). De Gruyter Saur. doi:10.1515/9783110657807-026.

I. Meirelles (2013): Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations, Rockport Publishers.

S. Murray (2017): Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3, O’Reilly Media, 2nd edition.

C. Schmied and HK Jambor (2021): Effective image visualization for publications – a workflow using open access tools and concepts, in: F1000Research, 9:1373, doi:10.12688/f1000research.27140.2.

E. R. Tufte (2001): The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press, 2nd edition.

C. Ware (2012): Information Visualization: Perception for Design, Morgan Kaufmann by Elsevier, 3rd edition.

N. Yau (2011): Visualize This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics, Wiley.

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