Is there life beyond spreadsheets?

A resource to navigate which free online tools can help with data visualisation for advocacy.


We think so.

Introducing Drawing by Numbers, a new resource from Tactical Tech:

(Editor’s note 10 December 2020: The resource is no longer available, but Tactical Tech offers a newer toolkit, Exposing the Invisible)


Data visualisation has become very popular and there are all kinds of free, online tools begging to visualise everything from your daily coffee intake to your social network. But which of these are good and which are just a waste of time? Which can actually be useful for advocates to communicate complex issues to their audience?

Drawing by Numbers is a curation of tools for activists and independent journalists who have experience with aggregating data and want to know how to visualise it. It’s also for those who’ve already been experimenting and want some advice and inspiration on developing visualisations. Four categories of tools are covered: charts and graphs; mapping and mash-up tools; design, layout and presentation tools and data management tools.

If you’re looking for more guidance on how data and evidence can actually strengthen your campaign, you can also find the first of our Data and Design How-To’s, Where is your evidence?
It provides examples of inspiring advocacy campaigns which have utilised data visualisation and specific advice to help you start exploring ideas for your own advocacy.

sommaire en français

drawing by numbers (Dessin par numéros) est un outil de curation pour les militants et les journalistes indépendants qui ont une expérience avec l’agrégation des données et qui veulent savoir comment les visualiser. C’est aussi pour ceux qui ont déjà expérimenté et qui veulent quelques conseils et d’inspiration sur comment de développer des visualisations. Quatre catégories d’outils sont couverts: les tableaux et graphiques, la cartographie et les outils pour le mash-up, les outils de conception, de mise en page et de présentation et les outils de gestion des données.

resumen en español

drawing by numbers (Dibujo de números) es una herramienta para los activistas y periodistas independientes que tienen experiencia con la agregación de datos y quiere saber cómo verlos. También es para aquellos que ya han experimentado y quieren algunos consejos e inspiración sobre cómo desarrollar las visualizaciones. Cuatro categorías de herramientas están cubiertos: tablas y gráficos, mapas y herramientas para el mash-up, herramientas de diseño y de presentación y herramientas de gestión de datos.

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