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Data Visualization

Free Tools to help visualize your data

Library Research Guide

What are Temporal Data Visualizations?

Temporal Visualizations (or timelines) are similar to one-dimensional linear visualizations.  Because timelines are widely used and vital enough for medical records, project management, and historical presentations, they are considered a separate data type. Temporal data is characterized by items that have a start and finish time, and items may overlap each other. Timeline visualizations usually include all events before, after, or during some time period or moment.

Examples of Temporal Visualizations include: timelines, Gantt charts, stream graphs, arc diagrams/thread arcs, tree rings/concentric circle graphs, time series charts/graphs, and alluvial diagrams

Tools for Temporal Visualizations


From the developers of Provotis, d3.js is a small, free JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data.  Can produce choropleth, motion chart, hib plot, and fisheye distortion visualizations.



Analyze temporal data with five different displays: Timeline, Calendar, Bar Chart, Table, and List views.

Simile Timeline and Simile TimePlot

Timeline is a web widget for visualizing temporal data.  You can make interactive, detailed, timelines.  Timeplot is a DHTML-based AJAXy widget for plotting time series and laying time-based events over them.



A graphical approach to visualization, Provotis composes custom views of data with simple marks such as bars and dots, and defines marks through dynamic properties that encode data. Protovis is mostly declarative and designed to be learned by example.  It is no longer under active development.


From the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, two TimeSearcher tools are available to explore time series data.