Data Art is what gets more interest from the general media because it’s aesthetically beautiful, and looks good in coffee table books like Information Is Beautiful, but data visualisation is of more interest to us, because that’s actually more about the story in the data rather than the beauty of the presentation, so the focus is on leaving the reader understanding rather than appreciating.Data Art actually works against the principles of open data – because it requires specialist, technical skills, it remains in the hands of the few, and there is far too much data publicly available for those few to represent it all pictorially.
In 1983 data visualization aficionado Edward Tufte published his groundbreaking book The Visual Display ofQuantitative Information, which showed us that there were effective ways of displaying data visually and then there werethe ways that most of us were doing it, which were sadly lacking in effectiveness.
Data visualisation is essentially the simplification of information, so that it becomes easier to read, with key findings easily identified.It’s not something she’s primarily associated with, but Florence Nightingale was an early exponent of data visualisation, collecting data on army deaths during the Crimean war, and visualising them with this polar-area diagram. For each month (Year 1 on the right, Year 2 on the left), it shows deaths from battle wounds (red area), deaths from preventable diseases (blue) and deaths from other causes (black). It clearly shows how cholera, typhus and dysentery were killing far more soldiers than Russian artillery, and was enough to convince Army generals that sanitary field hospitals were a necessity of modern warfare.
Data visualisation presentation
“I keep saying the sexy job in the next
ten years will be statisticians.”
The ability to take data - to be able to understand it, to process
it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it is
going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades, not only
at the professional level but even at the educational level for
elementary school kids, for high school kids, for college kids.
Because now we really do have essentially free
and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary
scarce factor is the ability to understand that
data and extract value from it.
Chief Economist, Google
Big Data + Open Data
Big Trouble for Traditional
Time = 8 weeks
Traditional Market Research Process
100 charts in
Time = 24-48 hours
Future Market Research Process
Visualise it clearly
“Research Agencies” of today/tomorrow
Data Visualisation Data Art
Purpose To inform/enlighten To entertain/delight
Objective Simplify the data Beautify the data
Proponent Hans Rosling David McCandless
Creator PLANNERS CREATIVES
“Graphical excellence is
that which gives to the
viewer the greatest
number of ideas in the
shortest time with the
least ink in the shortest