Community Blog Understanding Alibaba Cloud DataV - A Powerful and Accessible Data Visualization Tool

Understanding Alibaba Cloud DataV - A Powerful and Accessible Data Visualization Tool

Alibaba Cloud DataV is an effective data visualization tool that allows business decision-makers to conveniently understand data patterns, relationships, and trends.

Data visualization refers to the presentation of data in a graphical manner. It enables decision-makers grasp complex concepts or identify new data patterns by having a visual view of data analytics. With interactive visualization, you can enhance the idea of data visualization by using technology to convert data into charts and graphs.

Data Visualization for Businesses

Is data visualization a new concept? Why is it important?

Data visualization is not new. Businesses have been generating reports using maps, graphs, and charts as a way to summarize data. Data visualization is important mainly because of the way the human brain is designed to process information. It is always much easier to grasp information by supplementing text-based reports with graphs and charts.

For businesses in particular, data visualization cuts out the cumbersome process of data comprehension and offers users the ability to process and make sense of data using visually-presented and interactive dashboards. Data visualization tools allow users the opportunity to analyze trends interactively, helping businesses to conveniently identify relationships and draw inferences from data.

Challenges of Data Visualization

Despite the significant advantage of data visualization for businesses, it comes with its own set of challenges.

  1. Data Collection: Users of data visualization tools often find themselves with data from different data sources. This requires programmers to decode and maintain the various access interfaces. As the number of data source increases, users might often come across the need to find assistance in extracting useful data and upgrading it regularly.
  2. Varied Level of Understanding: Instances may arise where people habituated to seeing basic excel graphics fail to comprehend anything fractionally more complex. Additionally, there might be users who would be of the notion that interaction within data visualization is insignificant and is more of a luxury and not a necessity.
  3. Combining Similar Data from Multiple Sources: For businesses, nothing is more precious than valuable data. Organizations observe data, process it, and then try to make sense out of it. However, the challenge that arises is that relevant data often exists in more than one location. Often, people confuse data visualization tools whenever they encounter such a crossroad.
  4. Time Consuming Process: Gathering data, processing it, and designing relevant graphics from scratch is a cumbersome task. Furthermore, designers have to consider screen resolution, graphical responsiveness, data readability, aesthetic, and content-design relationship. These factors add to the time required to create a relevant graphical representation of data.
  5. Lack of Data Analysis Supporting Tools: Third-party tools available in the market often lack the ability to support Big Data analysis and presentation. Moreover, there are insufficient tools that are capable of visualizing and analyzing data stored in relational databases and spatiotemporal data.

Taking into consideration the importance of data visualization and the challenges that businesses face while attempting to use data visualization, Alibaba Cloud introduced its data visualization tool – DataV.

Key Features of Alibaba Cloud DataV

DataV is an efficient and accessible data visualization tool that uses real-time data-driven dashboards to present and assist in data analysis. It offers several templates allowing users to customize analysis to all types of scenarios, including GIS that makes mapping geographic content convenient. Using simple drag-and-drop functions, users can create professional visualization projects with minimal programming requirement.

  1. Vast Number of Templates: Alibaba Cloud’s data visualization tool offers a gamut of templates to cater to all types of scenarios. It includes templates that match scenarios such as geographical analysis, control centers, real-time monitoring, and operation analytics. Additionally, the templates require minimal customization that allows users to design and render high-quality visual representations without the assistance of a designer.
  2. Extensive Range of Databases and Data Formats: Users can connect to various databases including Alibaba Cloud‘s ApsaraDB for RDS, AnalyticDB, and APIs with the support of dynamic requests. The tool also identifies static data in JSON and CSV formats.
  3. Disparate Visualization Widget Library: DataV identifies a spectrum of spatial and non-spatial file formats. It can represent data spatially for locations and geographic points, route and trip data, as well as heat maps and scatter plots. One can also integrate AntV-G2 and Echarts conveniently with Data V.
  4. Interactive Data Analysis: DataV features a convenient and efficient method to configure interactions among several components. This enables interactive data analysis by transferring parameters from one component to another.
  5. User-Friendly Interface: Unlike other data visualization tools, DataV offers its users an easy to use interface. It comprises of configuration widgets and graphical interfaces that allow users to create professional visualizations in a few simple steps. Moreover, it requires minimal programming.

How to Use DataV

While using DataV, you should keep in mind of these four concepts:

Data Source
Before you start creating a visualization project with DataV, it is imperative that you specify the sources of the raw data. A data source is the location of the raw data. DataV supports the following types of data sources:

  1. Static data
  2. Database
  3. API
  4. Other data sources

Canvas is the primary function area of DataV, also called the interface editor. Canvas offers the users the freedom to adjust the page settings of the project, publish the project, and bind data sources and widgets. This is how Alibaba Cloud DataV canvas looks like:

The toolbar sits at the top of the canvas. It includes functions such as previewing, adding widgets, publishing, and help.

Users can select the widget that they want to include to the canvas from the widget menu on the toolbar. DataV also supports third-party widgets.

DataV in Action

Alibaba Singles' Day Global Shopping Festival 2017
In 2017, the Alibaba’s annual shopping extravaganza – Alibaba Singles' Day witnessed more than 1.5 trillion orders. In the DataV visualization dashboard below, the bright lines and dots represent the various transportation routes from suppliers to the customers.

ET City Brain (Hangzhou)
Here, Alibaba utilized DataV to create City Brain, a traffic monitoring system and an interactive analysis interface for Hangzhou City. It collects data across the city and feeds it to a dashboard that analyzes incidents such as public security traffic optimization, accident monitoring and detection, and public transportation schedules.

Smart Parking Management for Parking
DataV displays available parking space on its graphically rich dashboards and ensures real-time parking optimization.


Data visualization is the new trend of representing vast volumes of raw data into meaningful and interactive modes. It is a much-needed evolution of graphical representation of data from simple charts, giving businesses meaningful insight into their products, consumer trends, and market patterns. However, representing data visually and interactively is no easy task.

Alibaba Cloud DataV is a one-stop data visualization tool that provides numerous widgets, visual templates, and a wide range of support for data sources. You too can make use of data visualization to help your business get a competitive edge by visiting www.alibabacloud.com/product/datav.

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