From TUMRAI [QuickNote]
Data visualization is the graphical representation of information. Bar charts, scatter graphs, and maps are examples of simple data visualizations that have been used for decades. Information technology combines the principles of visualization with powerfull applications and large data sets to create sophisticated images and animations. A tag cloud, for instance, uses text size to indicate the relative frequency of use of a set of terms. In many cases, the data that feed a tag cloud come from thousands of Web pages, representing perhaps millions of users. All of this information is contained in a simple image that you can understand quickly and easily.
More complex visualizations sometimes generate animations that demonstrate how data change over time. In an application called Gapminder, bubbles represent the countries of the world, with each nation’s population reflected in the size of its bubble. You can set the x and y axes to compare life expectancy with per capita income, for example, and the tool will show how each nation’s bubble moves on the graph over time. You can see that higher income generally correlates with longer life expectancy, but the visualization also clearly shows that China doesn’t follow this trend—in 1975, the country had one of the lowest per capita incomes but one of the longer life expectancies. The animation also shows the steep drop in life expectancy in many sub-Saharan African countries starting in the early 1990s (corresponding to the AIDS epidemic in that part of the world) and the plummeting of life expectancy in Rwanda at the time of that nation’s genocide.
Dynamic Data Visualization
Data Visualization at Nytimes.com
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