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Introduction to Data Visualisation


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Introduction to Data Visualisation -- focusing on display of statistics

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Introduction to Data Visualisation

  1. 1. “Our networks are awash in data. A little of it is information. A smidgen of this shows up as knowledge. Combined with ideas, some of that is actually useful. Mix in experience, context, compassion, discipline, humor, tolerance, and humility, and perhaps knowledge becomes wisdom.” Clifford Stoll
  2. 2. When Al Gore rode a scissor crane up to the top of the CO2 emissions graph in the film An Inconvenient Truth, he became a superstar of visual communications. He compellingly used graphs to tell the story of global warming, which helped public opinion in America to finally reach the tipping point.
  3. 3. data vizualisation The goal of visualization is to aid our understanding of data by leveraging the human visual system’s highly-tuned ability to see patterns, spot trends, and identify outliers. Well-designed visual representations can replace cognitive calculations with simple perceptual inferences and improve comprehension, memory, and decision making. By making data more accessible and appealing, visual representations may also help engage more diverse audiences in exploration and analysis. The challenge is to create effective and engaging visualizations that are appropriate to the data.
  4. 4. Modern data graphics can do much more than simply substitute for small statistical tables. At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers -- even a very large set -- is to look at pictures of those numbers. Furthermore, of all methods for analyzing and communicating statistical information, well-designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time the most powerful. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward R. Tufte, Graphics Press: Cheshire, CT 1983, Introduction
  5. 5. Edward Tufte: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Graphical Displays Should : • show the data. • tell the truth. • help the viewer think about the information rather than the design. • encourage the eye to compare the data. • make large data sets coherent.
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  7. 7. Why should we be interested in visualization? Because the human visual system is a pattern seeker of enormous power and subtlety. The eye and the visual cortex of the brain form a massively parallel processor that provides the highest-bandwidth channel into human cognitive centers. At higher levels of processing, perception and cognition are closely interelated, which is the reason why the words ‘understanding’ and ‘seeing’ are synonymous. However, the visual system has its own rules. We can easily see patterns presented in certain ways, but if they are presented in other ways, they become invisible... If we can understand how perception works, our knowledge can be translated into rules for displaying information. Following perception-based rules, we can present our data in such a way that the important and informative patterns stand out. If we disobey the rules, our data will be incomprehensible or misleading. Information Visualization, Second Edition, Colin Ware, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2004, page xxi
  8. 8. Good data visualisations bring pattern, trends and exceptions to light.
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  11. 11. Graph Design IQ Test