Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

This paper describes information viz. in detail and how and why it is useful to the people trying to gain insights into the huge datasets of the day. After fully reading it, I understood what exactly the authors meant to say when I related their descriptions to the various examples put forth by students in the class. The ideas are put forth in a manner which is very easy to understand, especially for a beginner like me who tries to apply them when looking at visualizations for finding the outliers in the presented dataset, for example.

Larkin and Simon, in their paper, have noted that text is sometimes better than graphics in some cases, though I fail to understand why, given the various ways presented by the authors in which visuals can lead to a greater understanding. For example, even in the viz. based on Napoleon's march on Moscow, which is pretty old, I would prefer the map to text, as it shows me exactly the conditions that resulted in his failure. And this is why visualizations have unmatched value in the present world, when you think of the forecasted zetabytes of information produced every year.