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A lesson we have learned from our work on the data portal DataMarket.com and custom projects we’ve done for a wide variety of customers is: Regardless of how interesting the underlying data or how ground-breaking the analysis is, most people only realize the value and see the potential once the data has been properly visualized.
Put another way: Visualization is where normal people fall in love with data, and – when done right – where they can understand the data at a glance.
We are by no means alone in realizing this. Data visualization has become a hot field, and a lot of statisticians, designers and computer professionals are taking their first steps, learning by example from things they’ve seen elsewhere. Some of these examples are colorful, pretty and praised but still don’t communicate the data properly – the real stories may even be obscured or distorted with badly parsed data or gratuitous visual fluff. Other examples are breaking new ground and advancing the field. But which is which?
Visually communicating data is not a new field. People have been honing data visualization skills since the 19th century, learning a lot about what works – and what doesn’t. It is possible to do things both “right” and beautiful at the same time. In this presentation we hope to explain how by showing the audience some of the very best examples of such work from the leaders in this field – and others that have not done as well.
After providing this background we will walk the audience step-by-step through one particular data visualization project we have worked on (possibly our Earthquake and Eruptions video), explaining the methods, tools and process involved in putting that together and the decisions that led to those particular choices.
Hjalmar is a serial entrepreneur, founder of four startups in gaming, mobile, web search and data since 1996. Prior to launching DataMarket, Hjalmar worked on new media and business development for companies in the Skipti Group (owners of Iceland Telecom) after their acquisition of his search startup – Spurl. DataMarket is based largely on Hjalmar’s vision to build a global exchange for structured data.
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