Post by Henderson
You know what data visualization is. Don’t you?
Literally, it is taking data (little bits of information) and placing this into an agreeable format (picture, graph, etc…) that is supposed to provide meaningful information, quickly.
If you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook or some other social networking site, chances are that you’re connected to at least 10 – 15 people. Family, friends, co-workers, contact, etc… you name it. They, also, are connected to 10-15 people, and so on. Hence the word network.
Each one of these people are… you guessed it, data; who, what, when, where, how, and why are all there. It’s even combined into a nice, standardized, profile page for you to view and interact with. No muss, no fuss.
More importantly, though, this collection of networks says something meaningful about you. It gives someone an informative snapshot as to who you are and what associations you keep. Good for employers and the like.
But say you have just a few moments to get your point across in one picture. How can you convey meaning to a potential viewer in seconds? Make a map.
LinkedIn has a really cool tool for you to map your networks. Here’s mine:
This is my data, visualized. If this is all filled out, you can see that I have contacts in the science, art, and political fields. I’ve volunteered for political campaigns and worked for a women’s shelter. And so on…
So, from this, what does data visualization mean? Far from my personal networks, it means that people can get necessary information faster and more effectively through the growing mound of supporting data.
This isn’t just good in personal networks, it’s also good when presenting data on which budgets, policy, and livelihoods are based. Tracking CO2 emissions, tracking the path of the Gulf Oil leak, and recording confirmations of the H1N1 virus.
Now this doesn’t mean that all the data is correct. You’d still have to do the homework on that, but it does ensure that your message can be understood by most anyone and your idea can be acted upon.
Check out a few of these sites and see some of the great thing people are doing to present data. Do you have any favorite sites?