Data Visualisation – Its Importance and What It Does For Us
Data Visualisation is taking data and presenting it in the format of a picture or a graphic (SAS.com, 2016). This type of visualisation is very important as it allows people such as researchers and decision makers to see analytics presented visually in an easy to consume format such as a graph or chart, so they can grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns.
Data Visualisation can be used from anything from advertising to education making it one of the most important ways of representing information. This type of data representation allows a more creative aspect to this information instead of people staring at a bank of meaningless numbers and text. This data can be represented in standard, everyday software such as excel but there are also more developed options such as tools like Voyant which allows users to analyse text in all different manners and also Timeline JS which allows users to represent data such as dates and important events along a linear timeline or even through programming languages such as Processing in Java.
While Data Visualisation has been commonplace within the science, business, and mathematics communities for years if has only recently found it’s way into the realm of humanities. Tools are consistently cropping up within humanities that allow scholars to gain a greater understanding of large bodies of texts. For example, through these tools you could load the complete works of William Shakespeare which would allow one to compare and contrast this vast library by searching for key words and using graphs and charts very easily to extract new data from these texts. The possibilities for representing new types of data using visualisations are endless.
Social media has become one of the main sources for any and all information for people these days and data visualisation is being used to pinpoint emerging trends in social media by taking stats and representing them on maps and on charts highlighting where certain topics are most popular. This can be helpful in terms of big events such as the presidential election that has just passed. It allows people to uncover what’s most popular in the online world at a given time and gives them ability to study why this has happened using simple to read visualisations. Twitter has a section of their site that is dedicated to this called #interactive which allows for interactive visualisations of data surrounding popular events to be posted (Twitter, 2016). These visualisations are related to sports events, elections, and popular culture showing how data visualisations can be incorporated into everyday life with interesting results.
It is clear that the visualisation of data has become an integral part of our society and shall only prove itself more as time moves on.
- Internet-use.gif. (2015). [image] Available at: http://visualoop.com/media/2015/06/Internet-use.gif [Accessed 16 November 2016].
- SAS.com. (2016). Data Visualization: What it is and why it matters. Available at: http://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/big-data/data-visualization.html [Accessed 16 November 2016].
- Twitter. (2016). Twitter #interactive visualizations. Available at: https://interactive.twitter.com/ [Accessed 16 November 2016].