Data, Maps and Design


☀☀☀ Zingchart converts simple JavaScript code into useful charts. The tool provides a library of graphics, from animation to dozens of chart types. You log entries into the code (above, left) and the chart is created (right). This service is free for basic charts, but pricey for subscription-based services. Journalist-coders will be able to use Zingchart effectively, but if you don’t know the first thing about code, you will not get much use out of this app. — Scotty Bara

☀☀☀☀ Need to create a chart that will stand out? can make your data visualization sparkle. Choose between 35 different graphics: bar charts, line graphs and more, or hundreds of different maps. The charts can be turned into gifs with simple, auto-play animation that brings data to life. The tool says it’s been used nearly five million times. provides a useful desktop service that journalists can use to add a creative element to their stories. I used this application on my laptop to create a chart that looked clean on all of my devices. — Scotty Bara


☀☀☀☀ Leaflet allows you to use interactive maps on your mobile device. It uses simple coding to create the map. You basically write the code for your own map; it guides you in doing that. I just became familiar with simple coding a few months ago, and this was easy enough for me to understand. — Alexis Berdine


☀☀☀☀ I’ve used PiktoChart for my own journalism projects. It’s a free web tool that asks for payment to use certain tools. The website gives users a variety of sample infographics for any sort of topic. Users are able to keep the sample the same while adding their own data or totally redesign it and when they are finished they can download their infographic to their computer. — Alexis Berdine


☀☀☀☀  InstantAtlas is a website that allows users to make interactive maps. This is a great tool for a journalist who, for example, may be covering the election and want to show the number of delegates per state or a candidate’s standing in the states. For visual data, this would be the tool that I would use. —Alexis Berdine


☀ info.Graphics is an app that lets you explore different infographics about a variety of topics. When I downloaded the app, I thought the purpose of it was to create your own infographic using your cellphone, however, this is not the case. The app just features already-made ones that include content that comes from questionable sources and low-quality images. The app itself crashed twice within five minutes of using it and is very slow to load images. info.Graphics has the potential to be a useful app, just isn’t there yet. —Ashley Altmann


☀☀☀☀ Waze is a navigation app that allows users to connect with one another. Unlike most other GPS systems Waze notifies you when you are about to approach an accident, roadside hazard, police officer, or high traffic area. The app calculates how long your route will take and suggests shortcuts. It would get journalists to news events faster. You can earn points depending on how many miles you drive, and you can use them to unlock different avatars for your profile. Waze is an effective navigation system that millions use to add a little fun to your drive. —Ashley Altmann

Tableau Mobile

☀☀☀ “A secure site to share data with anyone,” is what the tutorial told me to expect from Tableau. The Tableau Mobile app requires that you first have a Tableau account online (one cannot be created solely using the app). After creating an account, I then had to download Tableau desktop. The charts and data you create can be shared via a link or downloads. Journalists who are already great at data mapping can use Tableau Mobile to make their charts prettier. If you are inexperienced with numbers, though, it could be confusing; you would need help to learn the app. —Jamee Lind