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New, Free Software Enhances Data Visualization
Good information helps people make better decisions, whether it's what road to take based on congestion information (like that provided by Lake County's PASSAGE website) or which workforce delivery systems are more effective and worthy of further investment. Tableau, a company specializing in data visualization, created a free version of their software that allows users to animate and share data in minutes. Their "Inspiration Zone" features examples of how others have used this software to visualize data and problems. One example, "Innovation Across America," shows all U.S. metropolitan regions, ranking them by patents per capital (scroll through the years to see changes in the data).
Interested, but don't have the data? The MetroPulse website, a joint project of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and The Chicago Community Trust, features a comprehensive system of indicators for measuring and tracking regional quality of life over time in the seven counties of metropolitan Chicago. Visitors can chart, map, and graph data through the website, which is designed as a tool that can be used by policy makers, community leaders, media, and the general public to gather objective data that can inform their work.