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Multimedia graphing software?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:52 pm

I'm looking for advice on better graphing software.

Specifically, I'm responsible for running reports and disseminating information on health and human service needs in my region. We have a fairly rigid taxonomy (AIRS taxonomy if any of ya'll know it) that's got somewhere between 9 and 10 thousand terms, with terms strictly correlating to a specifically defined need. This allows for a great deal of granularity and makes searching for programs easier, but it makes giving people a good accounting of trends MORE difficult because broad trends get diluited--for instance, there's at least 1,000 medical taxonomies tracking different medical needs, vs five or six for utilities (water, gas, electric, heating fuel [think propane]). So I'm working on categorizing needs in terms of broad levels, and using charts to demonstrate broad trends--BUT I'd like to be able to click on relevant section (Say a section labeled utilities) and have that link to a subgraph (say a chart showing which type of utility was most requested). The ability to do or two layer would be better even; say, there's a section called "Medical" on a pie chart, I click it, it resolves down to a chart showing "Dental, Vision, Reproductive" and then I could click on THOSE sections to break them down even more.

Or even an ability to do stacked bar graphs for broad terms, with each one broken down into it's components would be better than what I have now. We have Excel and Word, and they can do basic charts and graphs pretty well, but I've been unable to achieve this functionality. I can do a stacked bar graph but the labeling abilities in Excel seem too limited for what I need.
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Graphmaster Gerbil
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Re: Multimedia graphing software?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:23 pm

Where is this ultimately going to end up? Is this going to be a dynamic website or a static document?

This kind of sounds like the kind of thing that a SQL database, a programming language, and a plotting library would be good for.
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Re: Multimedia graphing software?

Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:47 pm

I don't know your skillset, but here are some suggestions...

Excel plugins... there are some out there that could extend the existing functionality and might provide what you need. You'd really have to evaluate to see what meets your requirements though.

Google Charts - to be honest I don't have enough experience with this to know if it'd be dynamic enough or if it's more just for presentation.

Powerpivot - This could include a bit of a learning curve and also requires that your datasource is a MS SQL Server Database (I think you'd need better than Standard edition as well) but if that suits you, it's a very useful "poweruser" tool, which is actually a plugin for Excel but it can do some great visualizations and drilldowns.

If you are interested in picking up a programming language, the R language could be great for something like this, but it may also be overkill.

I actually think there might be some good Sharepoint tools for this type of drilldown analysis, but again that depends on your environment and what you have available.

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