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5 Essential iPad Visualization Apps

Here on Cospire we’ve tried to help those visualization experts out there by offering up some tips, advice, and tricks on creating the best data visualization you can. Yet, what good does that do, if you still don’t know what tools to use?  We all know that half the battle is “finding the right tool for the right job” however, in today’s busy workplace we’re not always at our desks or near our laptops. What are some good data visualization apps for the iPad then? Well I’ve come across an article by Klint Finley of ReadWriteWeb that tries to answer this very question. Check it out his recommendations below:

  • Numbers – For those Mac iWork fans, yes this is the very same Numbers that appears in iWork. For those a little less familiar with the Apple office suite, Numbers is a spreadsheet application much like Microsoft Excel. The iPad version, much like the desktop version, can create various types of charts and visualizations from data found within spreadsheets.
  • OmniGraffle – OmniGraffe is an iPad app that focuses on building charts, diagrams and other visualizations. When you first launch OmniGraffle take some time and be sure to go through the brief tutorial – “while many of the touchscreen interface elements in OmniGraffle will quickly (if not immediately) feel intuitive, some of the design decisions are less obvious. The tutorial does a good job explaining those”. While the “amount of functionality included in OmniGraffle is astounding” (MacWorld) it’s not cheap! ($49.99) This said, it does have a much cheaper little brother, OmniGraphSketcher
  • OmniGraphSketcher– OmniGraphSketcher’s “focus is on creating beautiful charts and graphs with minimal effort. And it most definitely achieves that goal, although…the app can’t import any numeric data you have; rather, when you create your graphs, you’ll need to enter all the data points manually.” (MacWorld) While slightly more glitchy than its fully loaded cosin, none of the bugs are big deal-breakers. So, if you want to create some killer charts and don’t have much data to plot this app is a great go-to.

  • Roambi Visualizer – Roambi Visualizer can visualize data from tools like SAP Business Objects, SAP Crystal Reports, IBM Cognos, Excel and Salesforce.com.The free version only works with Excel, SCV files and HTML. The Pro version ($99 a year per user) adds support for Google Docs and Salesforce. Pricing varies for the enterprise edition, which offers support for many more formats.
  • Easy Chart HD – A simple and inexpensive ($0.99) way to create and share bar, line, pie and sidebar charts.
  • Lastly, Finley recommends Instaviz for creating quick and easy flow charts. This is where I disagree. With the plethora of mapping apps out there for the iOS, I think there are some better ones for creating flow charts or mapping – particularly if you are going to shell out $10 for one. For the same price, Mindjet for iPad (free) or iThoughtsHD ($10) are two superior apps to use when you want to map something out or create flow charts.

Your Turn

iPad owners, what visualization apps do you enjoy using?

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