Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. By using visual elements like charts, graphs and maps, data visualization tools provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data. Visual messages make the most impact in terms of conveying information and its significance. Accurate, clear and compelling data visualization has never been more important.

Data visualization has become increasingly important in the academic world, but it is not limited to that space. The medical field has also embraced data visualization. Students at Johns Hopkins developed a visualization method a few years back to predict the cause of pneumonia in children. Pneumonia is the number one infection-based cause of death in children worldwide, so that’s a pretty big deal. This is just one example of modeling that demonstrates the ways in which data can help people, both physically and professionally.

The concept of using pictures to understand data has been around for centuries, from maps and graphs in the 17th century to the invention of the pie chart in the early 1800s. Several decades later, one of the most cited examples of statistical graphics occurred when Charles Minard mapped Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The map depicted the size of the army as well as the path of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow – and tied that information to temperature and time scales for a more in-depth understanding of the event.

Computers have made it possible to process large amounts of data at lightning-fast speeds. Today, data visualization has become a rapidly evolving blend of science and art that is certain to change the corporate landscape over the next few years. Because of the way the human brain processes information, using charts or graphs to visualize large amounts of complex data is easier than poring over spreadsheets or reports.

Access Innovations understands how data visualization can enhance your data and insights. For our clients to be able to see at a glance the history of their fields, or what subjects are appropriate topics for conferences, has become increasingly valuable and we know that visualization will continue to evolve.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.