Accessibility Settings

color options

monochrome muted color dark

reading tools

isolation ruler



GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: New Tools for Chartmaking and Sonification, 3D Data, Hedgehog Maps, Editable Spreadsheet Images

What’s the global data journalism community tweeting about this week? Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from March 4 to 10 finds a host of intriguing tools and feature releases: @FinancialTimes‘ chartmaking tool, @datavized‘s data sonification tool, and a new feature on @Microsoft‘s Excel app that converts printed tables into editable spreadsheets, plus @alice_corona on building 3D data experiences and @alyssafowers coining the term “hedgehog maps.”

Create Charts. Fast.

Last week, The Financial Times soft-launched FastCharts, a chart-maker touted as simpler-to-use than Excel or Google Sheets. The idea to create this tool for the newsroom came about when the FT realized that it took too long to create one simple chart for the web and its print equivalent.

Make Beautiful Music With Data

Just launched: TwoTone, an open-source data sonification tool created by Datavized Technologies with the support of the Google News Initiative. TwoTone turns your data into music. It could open a new world of possibilities to make data accessible for the visually impaired. Google’s Data Editor Simon Rogers writes about the tool here.

Building 3D Data Experiences

Data journalist Alice Corona writes a two-part article about data “physicalizations.” She highlights the participatory nature of 3D data experiences for audiences and offers several examples to inspire journalists to create their own data-driven news installations. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Introducing the Hedgehog Map

Alyssa Fowers, a PhD student studying statistics, research methods and data viz at the University of Miami, just coined a term for maps using arrows to indicate change: hedgehog maps. She cites US election maps as an example, where the base of the arrows show the location of the change, the length depicts the magnitude of the change and the angle indicates the direction.

Turn Pictures of Tables into Editable Spreadsheets

Good news! Excel mobile app users will soon be able to take photos of printed data tables and convert them to fully editable tables in the app. The feature is powered by image recognition technology.

NICAR19 Data Blitz

The annual NICAR gathering is the mother of all data journalism conferences. Sponsored by our pals at Investigative Reporters and Editors, the annual event wrapped last weekend after four days of sharing datasets, GitHub repos, tools and knowledge. Check it out: There’s lots to digest in Sharon Machlis’s collection of tipsheets and IRE’s collection of session materials from the conference.

Pitch the Next #PanamaPapers

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is known for its massive cross-border investigations by large collaborative teams of some of the best investigative journalists in the world. Now you can help: ICIJ is reaching out to the public for more world-changing stories. Send in your pitches!

Google Data Studio

Are you late to the Google Data Studio party? In January, the Data Studio team released a number of new features including interactive charts, search filters and the ability to embed external content.

When Headlines Contradict Data

Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, calls out The New York Times for publishing a headline on migration records in the United States that was misleading and contradicted its own data.

Investigating Data Using R and Spark

SRF Data reporter Timo Grossenbacher writes a detailed breakdown of how he investigated a 900 GB+ dataset of Swiss password leaks. He describes his process from pre-processing to filtering and searching using R and Spark, and finally his analysis. Some advice and a funny cat GIF are included.

Thanks, once again, to Marc Smith of Connected Action for gathering the links and graphing them.

Eunice Au is GIJN’s program coordinator. Previously, she was a Malaysia correspondent for Singapore’s The Straits Times, and a journalist at the New Straits Times. She has also written for The Sun, Malaysian Today and Madam Chair.


For a look at Marc Smith’s mapping on #ddj on Twitter, check out this map.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Republish this article

Material from GIJN’s website is generally available for republication under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. Images usually are published under a different license, so we advise you to use alternatives or contact us regarding permission. Here are our full terms for republication. You must credit the author, link to the original story, and name GIJN as the first publisher. For any queries or to send us a courtesy republication note, write to

Read Next

data journalism organ donation rules change The Markup

Data Journalism Data Journalism Top 10

Data Journalism Top 10: Organ Donations, EU Drug Use, Layoffs Language, and Russian Censorship

GIJN’s weekly curation of the most popular data journalism stories on Twitter features a look the impact of changes to organ donation rules in the US, drug usage in Europe based on wastewater analysis, a text analysis of layoff memos written by tech industry chief executives, and an examination of protests across Russia in 2022.

NYT Maps Impact of Roe Abortion Ruling

Data Journalism News & Analysis

Data Journalism Top 10: Abortion Ban Burdens, China Surveillance, Heat Wave Threats, and Russia’s Degraded Army

This week’s Top 10 in Data Journalism looks at the impact of the Dobbs US Supreme Court ruling on travel time for women seeking an abortion in the US, China’s intensifying surveillance on its population, the impact of heat waves on fragile populations in Germany, the state of the Russian army after four months of war, and the gender inequity in speeches in the Zurich Parliament.