5* Data – Tools for Modelling

What tools are good for drawing models of the concepts and relationships in data?  Here we list and compare the options.

Do you know of other tools that work well for modelling? Let us know using the form below, and we will review it for these pages.

Please give us your comments on any of the tools listed below?


The examples in the guide use GraphViz ( http://www.graphviz.org/ ) to produce the Elipse and Line diagrams.
A script of
digraph ops_covalent {
edge [fontname="Arial", fontsize=7, labelfontname="Arial", labelfontsize=7, len=1.5];
node [style=filled, color = black,fillcolor=lightblue, fixedsize=true, fontname="Arial", fontcolor=black, fontsize=7];Plan;
Time [fillcolor="darkolivegreen1"];
Location [fillcolor="darkorange1"];
Entity [fillcolor="darkorange1"];
Organisation [fillcolor="darkolivegreen1"];

Plan -> Time [ label = "period" ];
Plan -> Plan [ label="contains"];
Plan -> Entity [label="about"]

Entity -> Location [label="at"];

Plan -> Organisation [ label="owned by"];

Plan -> State [ label="has"];
State -> Time [ label="at"];

produces the image
It can also produce html image maps so that they can be incorporated into a web site and clicked on..
This type of diagram can be appealing for the first stages of modelling, to draw out the classes in a data set and how they are related, and most importantly, looking for concepts where more information could be linked to if using an external URI.
The strengths of this tools are:
  • it is open source;
  • people can exchange simple text files to exchange and build on each others models;
  • quick to produce diagrams;

Drawback can be:

  • you have to learn to ‘dot’ language ( although as you can see from the example, it is straight-forward.
  • Does not use a library of concepts and relationships

This tool is good for initial modelling of a dataset, particularly when working with a non-technical group.