By Lauren Gonn
Kevin Crowe joined us for our July luncheon, explaining the ins and outs of data visualization. So what is data visualization? It is considered to be the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. In other words: charts, pictures, graphs, video and other tools used to get a point across.
Crowe talked more specifically on data journalism, stating that many people see it as the future of journalism. In reality, it has already been used for centuries in many ways. Basically using statistics, design, computer science and much more to determine an issue and report it to the public.
This scientific approach to reporting combines surveys and analyzes demographics in order to test and draw conclusions. There are different forms of data journalism and different kinds of data. Some of the forms Crowe focused on are “quick-turn dailies,” web applications and months/years investigations. The dailies are open source (free) tools, like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for example, that provide specific information on a subject often. Most data has a documentation on how, when, and where to use it.
Using homeowner property as an example, let’s say you want to know how much you are paying in taxes, and how much your home is worth compared to your neighbor. The different kinds of data that would be involved in this topic are: metrics on property assessors, assessed values for different countries, contact info for assessors, data on when different municipalities did property re-evaluations, etc.
Data visualization allows you to break down this information in detail, figure out what it is you are trying to decipher and in a way that appeals to everyone.