Thursday, September 24, 2009
Visualising data: making data spatial
Left image: The Wordle visualisation of this entry.
Right image: The visual representation of the Spatialworlds blog hits via Clustrmaps. Hits on 264 computers across 11 countries in 2009.
Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'
An important aspect of geography is the geographer’s ability to visually represent data and to interpret such representations. The geographers’ graphicacy and mapping skills are critical components of the geographer's toolkit. With over 80% of data now being attached to place, the growth of visual representation technology and their presence on the Internet is amazing. People expect to see data represented visually when they visit a website and/or view documentaries and news reports on the television. Via Internet based technologies and spatial technologies we are seeing a revolution in how we view and process information and data. The opportunities provided by geography and geography related technologies and skills are central to this revolution! The work in Neuroscience on the processing of such visualisations and its impact on learning and perceptions is a rich field of research. Such research is critical to our understanding of what is happening in regards to how people view the world and their spatial thinking. More about that later!
The following websites are great examples of how data can be represented by spatial technology and other forms of visual representations.
An interesting program which turns a piece of writing into a visual representation is wordle. What wordle does is give the words a spatial dimension to allow the reader to see where the emhasis in a piece of writing is. For example the wordle art of what the piece of writing on this posting looks like is shown at the beginning of the posting(interesting you turn words into a "looks like" context)