The New Data Visualization: This is Not Your Father’s Pie Chart

Part 1 Beginning to Understand Methods

What is Data Visualization

While there are a few different schools of thought on what Data Visualization really is, ranging anywhere from Excel spreadsheets to 3-foot-long Infographics, in general, it is the practice of turning raw, abstract data into usable, visual information via charts, graphs, and pictures.   We all know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  In Data Visualization we transform abstract information into visual stories and clues that align with the powers of human perception and understanding.  We play to the way our brains are wired to work most efficiently and, in effect, we turn a thousand words, or numbers, into knowledge representation.

Data Visualization is a way to use our natural ability to learn quicker through pictures and “visuals”.  Some of the more basic forms of data visualization are things like pie charts and bar graphs.  Through the use of several different types of newly available, open-source javascript libraries, data visualization has gone way beyond those two forms.  Other tools are making use of Adobe Flex, Perl, Python, and Java just to name a few.