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Data and visualization

The one dominant effect of the web is the externalization or giving-shape to aspects of our daily lives that used to vaporize. For example, the ever prominent water cooler provided a space to converse. But, once the conversation was done, it vaporized. With today’s social web and the increased data trails we leave in online interactions, GPS, web search, and so on, we are providing a tremendous data trove for future researchers (and even ourselves). When capturing data, we really don’t need to know what we want to do with it in the future. The key is to capture it. Then, as technology progresses and we are better able to analyze and visualize interactions, we can tab the data store and gain new insight into people and activities – years after the data was first made explicit. Two articles on CNN explore this topic:
A new way of looking at the world:

An emerging set of tools is making it easier than ever to track and compile all sorts of “data” and display it in a way that’s relatively easy to understand.
You can now point your mobile phone at a street and instantly get ratings for restaurants. Or type in your address and find reports of crimes that may have occurred in your neighborhood. It’s even possible to track emotions on a national and global scale.

Data Visualization: “But while “we are collecting data like maniacs,” he adds, “our ability to gather data is much greater than our ability to make sense of that data.”".


  1. DolorsCapdet wrote:

    Institutions and corporations are now able to handle large amounts of information (including social networks) for obtain data and information explicit, implicit, models, patterns, …, that are applies to different areas: marketing, troubleshooting, …

    But, I worries the temporality on consumption of visualization on personal level. It is used as information fast, throwaway regardless of background, reference context, …, and, moroever, much of it goes unnoticed. :-(

    Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
  2. I think that the potential for explaining and analyzing complex sets of data with students is one of the great benefits of the data visualization bonanza that is on the web today. I use a visualization almost everyday in my classes to either hook the students with a topic, challenge them with analysis or bring a topic into better focus. This access to robust tools and data sets, transforms my ability to work with complex historical concepts in a more effective manner. I dataviz.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink