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Help me create a visualization of a corporate family tree
December 13, 2007 6:00 AM   Subscribe

I need help putting some data in a pleasing graphical form. In short, it is a history of a particular industry, with all of the companies, their founders and where they came from. I would like to build some sort of corporate family tree like this famous one. Does anyone know any good tools for this?
posted by blahblahblah to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Not a specific answer to your question but anytime anyone says "visualization" and "data" I think Edward Tufte.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 6:15 AM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know any good tools for this?

Illustrator, FreeHand or InDesign.
posted by signal at 6:52 AM on December 13, 2007


Illustrator. Especially if you want both "pleasing" and "graphical".
You're basically illustrating a timeline with mileposts. I've done umpteen oodles of these, all using Illustrator.
And Tufte is da man when it comes to this sort of discussion.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:01 AM on December 13, 2007


Since your example is basically a box-and-line chart, you might also want to look into flowcharting software, which might be easier to use than Illustrator if you're not already familiar with it. Omnigraffle is great on the mac; I don't know if there's a decent Windows equivalent.
posted by ook at 7:22 AM on December 13, 2007


On Windows, Visio is most commonly used to produce box and line diagrams. It can produce results similar to the chart you linked. I think it's included in some versions of Office now.
posted by ignignokt at 7:46 AM on December 13, 2007


If an online timeline would work for your purposes: http://www.circavie.com/
posted by Ness at 8:40 AM on December 13, 2007


On the Mac side also, I've used Bee Document's Timeline software with fantastic results. Visually pleasing, and doesn't take an engineering degree to use.
posted by angry.polymath at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2007


ignignokt: "On Windows, Visio is most commonly used to produce box and line diagrams. It can produce results similar to the chart you linked. I think it's included in some versions of Office now."

Well, yes, but the poster specified "a pleasing graphical form", and Visio sucks balls. Seriously, Illustrator, Freehand or InDesign.
posted by signal at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2007


Also consider starting with Visio to visualize the data (ie to prototype and finetune the layout of the information) if it is a complex tree, because you can drag the boxes around into different systems of order and the connections will reroute, influence the way that the connections route, etc. When you have a layout that is easy to follow, easy to understand, and somewhat pleasing to the eye, that's your map, THEN you create the "final pass" (ie prettified) version in your graphics/design software of choice, finetune the typography, etc.
At this second stage, it doesn't really matter which you choose. Whatever is on-hand, or whatever you're most skilled with).
posted by -harlequin- at 8:53 PM on December 13, 2007


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