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Who provides software to make nice pics of data? Cataphora, Tidemark, Platfora, Ayasdi, Gooddata, Tableau,

child doing math



This picture combines social-media data with information from a retailer's billing systems to evaluate a marketing campaign. It compares public response to the campaign with the revenue the campaign generated. Horizontal bar charts are an easy way to compare two metrics, such as positive and negative sentiment, says GoodData Corp. Vice President Hubert Palan. (Since this is a U.S. retailer, negative sentiment is in red. If it were an Asian retailer, red would be considered positive.) The bubble chart combines three metrics—reach, engagement and return on investment. The verdict: Social-media reaction was good, but return on investment wasn't, so this campaign didn't perform as well as others.



The shapes that Ayasdi Inc. data displays take are automatically generated by the company's software, which relies on a branch of mathematics called topology. This picture shows clusters of credit-card transactions; the red dots indicate fraud. By clicking on the areas that are red, users can get more information on how those frauds were perpetrated. That can help them develop ways to prevent further incidents, say by adding new rules to their transaction systems. Users can choose the colors, but the default color scale runs from blue to red—cool to hot—says Ayasdi Vice President Jeff Yoshimura.



This series of pictures tells the story of a company's profitability through commonly understood shapes and graphs. Numbers about employees, for instance, are represented by human figures. Numbers about products break down into shopping bags—the bigger the bag, the more profitable the product. Tidemark runs on iPads, and since its data is in the cloud the story can be shared and continually refreshed, "much like Facebook and LinkedIn on the consumer side," says Tidemark Systems Inc. founder and Chief Executive Christian Gheorghe.



This picture represents more than 100 million rows of data. It shows a calculation of how fluid would move through a two-dimensional space; the colors indicate the fluid's density at given points in time. Users can zoom in to examine parts of the picture and the data behind them. This picture was rendered from the data in a couple of seconds, says Pete Schlampp, Platfora Inc. vice president of products and business development.


TABLEAUThis picture shows the global rate of infant mortality from 1950 to 2011. The world map orients viewers by geography, while the line graphs orient them by time. Shades of red draw attention to the regions where the most babies have died. The bar chart is another way to compare the number of deaths in each region. It's gray because too much color can be confusing, says Tableau's senior director of product marketing, Ellie Fields.



This is a portrayal of a corporate hierarchy, or pecking order, and infighting based on an investigation of a corporate fraud or insider threat. It is intended to help lawyers or investigators understand the inner workings of a company and jog witnesses' memories during depositions. Each chicken represents a person. The chickens are memorable and amusing, says Cataphora founder and CEO Elizabeth Charnock, making the information easier to absorb.

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