Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

The paper starts with discussion about the need for visualizations and also how it is hard to evaluate the results of visualizations as they are mainly used in exploratory tasks which are not well formulated. A convincing discussion is put forward. It brings to light several points which justify the use of visualizations. The discussion also conveys that visualization is one of the most effective mediums to convey information to the brain and hence achieve cognition at a faster rate. They then qualitatively describe the and discusses about kinds of visual information that can be quickly grasped by our eyes. It really brings in a broad sense, When we should use visualization and what features we should exploit.

The authors then discuss some historic use of visualizations and how they have helped in solving some interesting problems. They discuss the Napoleon's Russian invasion and the death toll of soldiers during the invasion. It shows very well what are the actual cause of deaths. They also mention about the spreading of cholera in London visualization. These examples form a a good impression that visualizations can change perception and aid in making important decisions

The authors then discusses some interesting points about infoviz, statistics and data mining. They mention that infoviz can be looked at as an extension to exploratory statistics but it has other uses for even statistically well modeled data sets. They point out that only few things can be automated using data mining hence it should be used in conjunction with info viz for better insights and cognition. The examples used to discuss these points really understand what is the correct place for visualization and when they should be used.

In the next section the authors discuss Van Wijk's economic model to evaluate the value of the visualization. They discuss the methods, parameters involved and the formula which provides the actual value profit.