Home > Information Visualization

Visualizing Information in Different Ways

In a recent article, Michael Friendly defines information visualization as the study of "the visual representation of large-scale collections of non-numerical information, such as files and lines of code in software systems, library and bibliographic databases, networks of relations on the internet, and so forth." This is an easily-understood definition of a very complex process. Visualizing information basically creates intuitive ways to display abstract data. The various types and methods utilize the human eye's broad bandwidth access to the mind to facilitate seeing, exploring and understanding vast quantities of data instantaneously.

How it began

The recent exploration of techniques for visualizing information dates to the development of computer graphics. In retrospect, the low level of available graphics power is perceived as the reason that early techniques have limited usefulness. Most programmers agree that the major development of productive techniques dates to the 1987 special issue of Visualization in Scientific Computing. Devoted to the general areas of data, information and science, this revolutionary work is responsible for the exploration of more specialized topics dealing with visualizing volume.

Noteworthy experts

A number of academics have dedicated their studies to improving the ways in which humans can better visualize information. Stuart K. Card, an American researcher, is one such expert. He is one of the pioneers of applying human factors in human-computer interaction. George Fumas, a professor and Associate Dean for Academic Strategy at the School of Information of the University of Michigan, is a pioneer of Latent sematic analysis, as well as the concept of Mosaic of Responsive Adaptive Systems (MoRAS). James D. Hollan researchers the cognitive consequences of computationally-based media, with the goal of understanding the cognitive and computational characteristics of dynamic interactive representations of dynamic interactive representations as the basis for effective system design. Martin Wattenberg, who is famous for pioneering work in visualizing artistic and social data, leads Google's data visualization research group.

Where it is used

Visualizing information now incorporates techniques gleaned from research results in many fields, including terrain visualization, psychological studies and visual and graphical design. It is often a major part of scientific analysis, data stratification, market research, pharmaceutical development, industrial process control, library digitization and a wide variety of financial sector studies.

What it does

There is now a wide variety of software dedicated to displaying large amounts of data in an elegant yet easily-understood way. Thesaurus visualization displays similar words for a single term in a visually-appealing manner. Business information visualization helps employees and managers at all levels in virtually any type of business understand and evaluate their business and make appropriate changes in their activities. Similar tools are also crucial in the field of science and technology, and even home design and home improvement. Incorporate these tools in your day-to-day life, business management activities and even your hobbies, and keep your competitive edge in these ever-changing market conditions.