Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazing Data Visualization Tool From The Geniuses At GA Tech (Jigsaw)

(Note: I am at a visual analysis conference sponsored by the National Visualization And Analytics Center so the last of the Top 5 Methods list will have to wait a day or two. In the meantime, I have found something else that is pretty cool...)

John Stasko and the computer scientists at the Information Interfaces Lab at Georgia Tech may not have found the Holy Grail of visual analysis but they have come pretty darn close with their Jigsaw product.

This extraordinary visualization tool automatically extracts entities (names, places, dates, etc.) from plain text documents. Then, it automatically creates a visualization of the relationships between those entities and the documents containing them. The screenshots below do not do it justice (I hope to have a video of the product in action within a couple of days, though).

The program is fully customizable so you can add or delete data, designate entities or create relationships to modify what the automatic entity extractors come up with.

The real power of the tool comes into play after the data is in the program. You can play with it in a variety of powerful and interesting ways all accessible through a drop dead easy user interface.

The software is continuously improving. On the horizon is the ability to use web input and there is a long analyst generated to-do list that the grad students at GA Tech are cranking through one at a time.

The software runs on a desktop and was developed with a DHS grant so government and academics should reach out to John for a test copy. GA Tech is also home of the Visual Analytics Digital Library and well worth checking out.

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