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Visualization tools

There are many different ways you might visualize your data. Here are a few tools that can help you, with examples of groups using them.

Free tools


If you have a basic understanding of spreadsheets and visualizations, these tools are simple and you can learn the basics and get visualizing in less than a day, following their tutorials.

  • Google Sheets: useful for collecting data and simple charts. It’s also useful for simple mapping (via google mymaps), and collecting data through google forms.
  • Tableau public: a very powerful tool by Salesforce, even using the free version. You can import datasets and produce data dashboards, including heat maps and charts. There is also a paid version for more advanced users.
  • Looker Studio: a free visualization toolset by Google, with the ability to visualize and share different data sources and gain insights, including maps and charts.

Advanced /professional

For those who have some web development or data analysis skills, these are recommended for academic and professional analysis.

  • R for Data Science: A lot of the pros use R for statistical and environmental analysis. It requires some coding skills, but is very powerful for advanced users.
  • Python: Another coding language that’s popular in crunching data. It’s also often used in machine learning implementations.
  • QGIS: A free open-source mapping system. Similar to ArcGIS, but might require more configuration and expertise to get started.
  • ArcGIS storymaps: A very popular way to tell stories using maps and data that is fairly user friendly.
  • The Land app: A great way to integrate existing datasets for restoration planning.
Updated on January 10, 2024

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