Data is cool. It can tell stories, unearth facts and provide conclusions. But while pages full of data tables may excite the academically inclined among your readers they don’t usually make it easier to digest the information. A picture, on the other hand, can do exactly this.
OpenHeatMap takes raw, geographically-linked data and transforms them into heat maps that can be embedded in articles. Not only that but OpenHeatMap can also create animated heat maps that reflect how data changes over time.
A lot like Storify (a previous top tool), the beauty of OpenHeatMap is its simplicity. Anyone who can use a spreadsheet and a browser can create their own heat maps. In its simplest form data is entered into a spreadsheet and labelled using any of the many recognised fields, imported into OpeHeatMap, tweaked and the map is ready to be embedded in articles.
To illustrate, I used the data provided by the South African National HIV Survey of 2008 and created this map of HIV prevalence by province in 2008:
I then also used data covering 2002 to 2008 and created this animated map:
These are pretty basic maps that I produced simply to illustrate the potential of OpenHeatMap.
Here OpenHeatMap founder, Pete Warden, does a better explanation of the potential of OpenHeatMap (and he has a cat):