Headline, October19, 2013


!!! A total revolution is taking place in how to visualize information !!!.

In the late 1700s William Playfair, a Scottish Engineer, created the bar chart, pie chart and line graph. 

These amounted to visual breakthroughs, innovations that allowed people to see patterns in data that they would otherwise have missed if they just stared at long tables of numbers.

Big data, the idea that the world is replete with more information than ever, is now all the rage. And the search for fresh and enlightened ways to help people absorb it is causing revolution.

A new generation of statisticians and designers-  often the same person- are working on computer technologies and visual techniques that will depict data at scales and in forms previously unimaginable.

The simple line graph and pie chart are being supplemented by things like colourful, animated bubble charts, which can present more variables. Three-dimensional network diagrams show ratios and relationships that were impossible to depict before.

Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg,  co-directors of Google's  ''Big Picture''  visualisation research group, lead the field. In their animated online infographic,  ''Wind Map''  which was created in 2012, they took hourly data from the National Digital forecast Database to show windflows across America.

The intensity of the white line represents the gusts force. The result is a unique way to show near real-time data in a way that is both informative and elegant. For that is what data-visualisations are: A blend of the aesthetic and informational.

Having one without the other means producing something that is less useful and enjoyable than it might be, argues Nathan Yau, a statistician who runs a blog called FlowingData.com. Visualisation is a whole new medium, he writes in his new book, ''Data Points''. It is a continuous spectrum that stretches from statistical graphics to data art''.

Translating data into images allows people to spot patterns, anomalies, proportions and relationships. When done well, it lets the eye create the narrative; people teach themselves, rather than being told.

Neurologically, humans use a different part of the brain when information is presented visually rather than through the numbers.

The right hemisphere handles imagery; the left is more analytical. Seeing data pictorially makes good use of both sides of the brain and lets one grasp meaning more quickly.

Mr Yau's book does an excellent job of explaining what makes a good data illustration. In the past, this would have been the sort of stuff that might appeal to graphic designers. 

But today every student, every professional interacts with data and charts, be it poring over a spreadsheet, watching a PowerPoint presentation or reading a newspaper.

The book walks the reader through myriad examples   -world airline routes, road deaths across America, even the distance to the nearest McDonald's outlet   -to explain what works and why.

In one section, for instance, a dull table of American Educational statistics is visualised in 20 different ways across 12 pages to unleash vibrant insights that had been trapped within the rows and columns.

Who knew that Washington, D.C, saw the biggest improvement in high-school graduation rates between 2000 to  2009, while Texas fell to the bottom of the ranking?? 

The Technology review and the Post continues:

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Bulgaria. See Ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'' !! The World Aloft !! ''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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