I Always Want To See the Data Behind, And So Does Plot.ly

I don’t have a love of infographics, mostly because they more graphic, than info, and I’ve stated before that all infographics should have the data behind them. I’ve been working with data of over 20 years, I thoroughly believe in its importance when used right, but it seriously pisses me off when it is distorted in support of any argument—whether I agree with the argument or not.

This sentiment is shared by a startup I was introduced this last week, called Plot.ly. I had a great conversation Nolan Browne the co-founder & chief business officer at Plot.ly, and he conveyed to me about how serious Plot.ly is about providing embeddable, API driven data analysis and visualizations tools that really empower data stewards.

First, I really like Plot.ly because it is JSON driven. Next they provide you with all the web-based tool you need to import, manage and share data in a way that lets you collaborate and publish along the way. Plot.ly even provides an API to help you manage everything about your data analysis and visualization work.

The most important thing about Plot.ly is that each visualization is embeddable, like a Youtube video, allowing you to share not just the visualization, but also the data behind it. Each embeddable Plot.ly visualizations contains the entire story behind it, allowing you to understand the credibility of the author, and how the data has evolved, and potentially adding your own stamp on its history with the ability to save, reverse engineer, and edit in your own Plot.ly account.

Plot.ly has some pretty impressive tools for importing, analyzing and visualizing data, but I think its samples and gallery, with the ability to save and fork the works of others which will make it work for the masses. Data stewards across the government, and private sector need not just the tools, but simple blueprints they can reverse engineer, helping them understand how they can better analyze and visualize their own data.

I’m playing around with Plot.ly more, and I can tell I will have even more stories that will come from data analysis and visualization platform. Platforms like Plot.ly are going to play an ever increasing role in the API economy, unlocking valuable data resources across the public and private sector.