Tag Archives: graph

Would you Like to Start Mindmapping?


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It’s been awhile since we talked about mindmaps. Mindmapping is essentially visualizing the information you are trying to organize. You remember creating an outline back in school, I’m sure. Outlines are not always the easiest way to really see the big picture. This is why you would want to use a mindmap. Using this method, you can explore your data in a much more two or three-dimensional way.

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

We’ve talked about mindmap software in the past. Mindjet’s Mind Manager is an excellent desktop application that lets you build a mindmap with data that you enter. We’ve also mentioned a web-based, full-featured application. MindMeister is a good application online, but it’s not free.

What if you want something that’s easy to access online, and free to boot? Check out Text2Mindmap. This service is free, with no account to sign up for. You enter your text and/or data, and the application will shoot out a structure for you. You can move nodes around to fit your needs. Once you’re satisfied with what you’ve done, save it to your computer as a JPG.

Using a mindmap makes it much easier for others to be able to visualize what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Try using one the next time you have to explain your ideas and thoughts, or even when you need to just get yourself organized.

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Charts and Graphs

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I’m not much of a math guy, but I do love graphics. Seeing numbers turn into charts or graphs is just cool to me. Google has created an easy way to make a chart or graph easily simply by typing in a URL.

If you go to code.google.com/apis/chart, you will see the instructions and different things you can do. Numbers are separated by the & symbol. You can choose from a simple chart to a 3D chart, graphs of all types, Venn diagrams and even scatter plots.

The Google Chart API returns a PNG-format image in response to a URL. Several types of image can be generated: line, bar, and pie charts for example. For each image type you can specify attributes such as size, colors, and labels. You can include a Chart API image in a webpage by embedding a URL within an tag. When the webpage is displayed in a browser the Chart API renders the image within the page. There are three encoding formats:

  • Simple encoding has a resolution of 62 different values. Allowing five pixels per data point, this is sufficient for line and bar charts up to about 300 pixels. Simple encoding is suitable for all other types of chart regardless of size.
  • Text encoding has a resolution of 1,000 different values, using floating point numbers between 0.0 and 100.0. Allowing five pixels per data point, integers (1.0, 2.0, and so on) are sufficient for line and bar charts up to about 500 pixels. Include a single decimal place (35.7 for example) if you require higher resolution. Text encoding is suitable for all other types of chart regardless of size.
  • Extended encoding has a resolution of 4,096 different values and is best used for large charts where a large data range is required.

This is very cool. I wouldn’t be surprised if developer’s are already working on a way to make Google Charts even easier to use!

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