Visualisation Part 2: How we use visualisation

This is the second post in our series looking at visualisation (the first post considered what visualisation is).

Visualiation – the turning of raw data into meaningful information through the use of graphics – is something we’re constantly working with. However, there’s always room for innovation and improvement. We wanted something that could handle a huge variety of content and formats, something that could render both quantitative and narrative data and display images, video and multimedia. This would let our clients communicate not just financial data but operational, CSR and sales information as well. It would show the breadth and scale of a client’s business – their geographical footprint – and demonstrate their performance and results at the same time. Visualisation, in short, offers insight into complex data, making it easier to consume and offering an engaging way to tell a company’s story.

Charting tools are nothing new – although our Data Charting Tool does have a simple elegance to it. It incorporates all the functionality you’d expect – but also lets you export the data, embed the chart in other websites and blogs or link to it from social networking sites.

We’re about to launch two other charting tools (which we’ll blog about in detail soon) – but they’ll be able to deal with much more complex calculations, display different units (say both Pounds and Euros) on both Y axes at the same time and even display data geographically across time, allowing the user to analyse data by continent, country or geopolitical region.

Our Interactive Timeline lets the user interact with text, images and video. It is perhaps obvious that it displays chronological information – but it is worth remembering that this could outline future company prospects as well as telling a historical story. Have a look at the one we recently did for New Look.

We also offer a number of mapping tools – from the entry-level Google Locations Map (which is ideal for visualising simple text content) and our Flash-based Contact and Locations Map. Top of the range is our Narrative Map – the most customisable of our visualisation tools – which can be used for communicating complex CSR, operational and product information. It can render text, images, video and multimedia – and then displays that content on an interactive map. The user can then drill down through geographical or geopolitical regions. Every map view generates a unique URL, meaning that any user-defined view can then be linked to from other sources, such as press releases or blogs. Have a look at the Anglo American website to see our Narrative Map in action – and read this post about it too.

Posted by Marcus

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