Turn a boring old spreadsheet into an interactive web-based map, timeline, or table with some simple HTML using the free, open source Exhibit project.
Exhibit takes data sets up to about 500 rows, plots locations on a Google Map, dates on an interactive timeline, and displays images and links in a tabular or thumbnail view. The viewer can sort, search, and filter data in any Exhibit view without reloading the page. You can make Exhibit do all this with a single HTML file and a spreadsheet–no hardcore programming required.
To try it out, yesterday I threw together my first Exhibit visualization called Broadway Shows I've Seen in the Past 17 Years. Why? Well, I'm looking to get rid of the stack of Playbills gathering on my shelf, but I want to remember what shows I saw and when. So I photographed each Playbill cover (see this Flickr set), entered information about each show into this Google spreadsheet, and plugged the two into Exhibit using HTML and CSS ripped off from other Exhibit examples. Play with it for yourself here, or take a tour of of what it produced below.
To switch between views in my Broadway shows Exhibit, click on the top row of links (Table, Thumbnails, Map, Timeline, Tiles). Let's take a look at each one.
The first and default view is a simple tabular view ("Table"), which looks a lot like your spreadsheet. Here you can click on any column title to sort items, search by keyword, or filter by "facets" I set up on the right sidebar (whether the show was a musical or play, the theater, and out of the screenshot, notable cast members).
To view the data lined up like blocks, try thumbnail view, where I used the larger version of my Playbill images to make a more visual representation of my list. By default I have the Playbills here sorted by the show type (Musical or Play) and grouped as such. Click on the "sorted by" link to change those settings.