Oct 31st 2016

Big Data: Data Visualisation (FutureLearn)

Data visualisation is vital in bridging the gap between data and decisions. Discover the methods, tools and processes involved. Data visualisation is an important visual method for effective communication and analysing large datasets. Through data visualisations we are able to draw conclusions from data that sometimes are not immediately obvious, and interact with the data in an entirely different way.

Get an introduction to big data visualisation

This free online course will provide you with an informative introduction to the methods, tools and processes involved in visualising big data. It has six elements:

1. Introduction to visualisation

2. Information visualisation

3. Scientific visualisation

4. Visualisation tools

5. Design approaches for visualisation

6. Visualisation for communication

Visualise real-word big data problems

We have designed the course around case studies from different fields. This way, you will be able to identify visualisation application areas and learn how to produce visualisations that help you to better understand real-world big data problems.

We will also take the time to examine briefly the use of visualisation throughout history dating back as far as 17,000 BC.


There are many software tools for data visualisation and visual analytics, and the list is still growing.

In this course we will use a variety of tools, so that you can become comfortable with engaging with different software packages and gain confidence in trialling new packages that may better meet your particular needs.

We will be using the following tools. Please review the product websites below to ensure your system meets the minimum requirements:

- Tableau: as the free trial period is 2 weeks, please do not start your free trial ahead of the course start date.

- MATLAB Online: a license will be provided for the duration of the course.

- D3.js: a JavaScript library available under BSD license.

If you don’t have access to all of these tools, you can still be an effective learner in this course. You can see what they can do, and use the tools later or investigate the use of other tools that might be more available to you.