Big Data is great for geeks, but most normal people don’t get a kick out of looking at huge tables of data (Excel junkies excluded). Factual, which is an open database wiki, just added some tools to help visualize the data entered on the site.
Every table now has a “visualizations” tab which lets anyone who publishes a set of data an easy way to turn that data into graphs, maps, and images. For instance, here is a map view of a restaurant database. Here is one for hiking trails which shows a difficulty dial, the length of the route, today’s weather, and which seasons the trail is open. Each visualization can be embedded as code onto a Website and is directly editable. For every entry there is an “edit this” button which lets anyone correct mistakes or add more information.
In other words, people don’t have to go to Factual’s website to add restaurants or hiking rails to each database. They can edit the information directly on Websites where the visualizations are embedded.
To encourage developers and designers to create more visualization templates, Factual is running a $500 contest for the best new visualizations to show off its databases of iPhone apps or cancer doctors in the U.S.
Factual was founded by Applied Semantics co-founder Gil Elbaz and raised $1 million in seed funding earlier this year from Andreessen Horowitz, Idealab, and a group of super angels.