You might want to check out Processing (http://processing.org
), which has pretty easy JOGL integration (at least within its own IDE, you just write "size(w, h, OPENGL); " and then import the OpenGL library from the drop down, all the other crap is handled for you - it's more complicated from Eclipse, but no more complicated than getting your own JOGL project to work without build/link errors) and is often used for data visualization. There are a lot of tutorials on how to use it, and within the IDE you can be up and running with a JOGL "sketch" within a minute or two and start running through all the built in examples, which show you how to use most of the drawing functions.
Using "real" JOGL or LWJGL is great if you actually need to, and for games it is pretty crucial, but if graphics aren't a primary concern then there's no point in lingering too much on the topic. If you go down that route, you're going to find that every "simple" thing that you would think should take a single function call is, in fact, its own topic, with associated setup, state handling, and boilerplate code to actually do it. Nothing against either library, btw, it's just that OpenGL is a pretty low level graphics API, not a convenient wrapper to make things easy to do, and the "cut-and-paste from Nehe" approach gets very cumbersome when you need more than a handful of features, and it takes a lot of experience to design your own wrapper for all that stuff in the right way.
If Processing can't cut it performance-wise, you may want to try Slick if you're in 2d, I've found that Slick can handle a lot more graphics output than Processing can (I suspect mainly because Processing does geometric transformations in the Java code rather than on the hardware). But I would definitely give Processing a look, the whole thing is specifically designed for easy data visualization (Ben Fry is a huge data junkie, and it's clear in the API design).