Visualisation Part 1: What is visualisation?

Visualisation – communicating information through graphics – is something of a buzzword at the moment. Visualisation itself is not a recent innovation. Prehistoric cave paintings are the earliest known form of visualisation and were often surprisingly sophisticated. Map-making predates writing by several millennia yet can express incredibly intricate data. As the old adage has it, a picture tells a thousand words.

Bar charts, line graphs and histograms appeared at the end of 18th century: pie charts and area charts at the beginning of the 19th. But enough examples – writing down all of the different forms of visualisation would be a strangely futile and post-modern exercise: happily we don’t have to, as we’ve found a periodic table that visualises visualisation for us.

Visualisation – which turns raw data into meaningful information – is a key business tool. A tumbling share price chart has long been a cinematic cliché. But it took computers for visualisation to come of age. Images and graphs are no longer static and two-dimensional: they can be interactive, engaging and offer far more insight than ever before.

Our second post on visualisation will show you some of the ways we’ve been using visualisation to help our clients.

Posted by Marcus

[Image: Creative Commons License / © Carla216]

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