A visual representation of data has always been known to be very helpful to exhibit information to the viewers and non-expert users in any field of study, particularly for study requiring data analysis. For instance, a map is an excellent example of a visual representation of the world or part of the world itself. In the Kraak’s article, the emphasis was on the usefulness of geovisualization and it is also argued that other graphic representations aid in simulating visual thought process, using the Minard’s map of champagne de Russie 1812-1813 with some geovisualization techniques.
In this posting I’d like to mention a couple of other examples that underline the importance of visualization to explore data, as well as the advantages from it. Graphic visualization can often reveal patterns that are not necessarily seen on tables and charts. For instance, a thematic map is known for its ability of displaying a connection between specific themes and geographic areas. This type of visualization highlights on spatial variations of one or a small number of geographic distributions. An example of thematic map can be found in the following link:
Another visualization tool is an application from ESRI, called Story Map Swipe. It is a tool used to create the story map more interactive and one can use this Swipe tool back and forth to compare one map to another very easily and quickly, therefore the impression one receives may differ or accentuated. An example of the Swipe can be found in the following link:
These types of visualization of data will definitely stimulate the visual thought process of any viewer and user compare to represent same data as a simple table or charts. Furthermore it may lead to a hint for new hypothesis or even an innovative solution to a problem.