Here is a short list of open source tools that I, as a beginner data journalist, have been using to create maps, timelines, charts and other exciting stuff since a year or so. Journalists, media experts or just anyone attracted by new freely available online technologies will, hopefully, find this list useful. My list is short because it is impossible to keep track of all the new tools that appear online with a faster-than-light speed and to be equally good at all of them. So I have chosen only 7 tools as a start that have become an important part of my DNA.
Google Refine – a must-to-know online tool to clean your messy data, to transform your data into different formats and to do much more.
Tableau Public – another great tool that helps to create interactive visualizations of your data and publish them online.
ManyEyes – a good open source visualization tool developed by IBM. All you have to do is upload your own data sets or use a pre-existing one on the site, choose among many options the visualisation and enjoy the results. Similar tools include Factual , Socrata, iCharts, ChartTool and ChartGo.
Wordle – a free tool that transforms your texts into colorful word clouds. Here is more information from their website on what the tool does:
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.
Dipity – one of my favorite free tools online that allow you to create timelines and add various links, pictures, text to it. It is very easy to use and edit or embed it to your blog or website, once you have an account.
Youshikoder – is for those who love to perform content analysis, including keywords search and count, in various languages.
TextAnalyzer – a free online tool that helps you to find and count most frequent phrases in different languages