Data visualization: a new way of looking at the world -…

November 3, 2009
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Data visualization: a new way of looking at the world – CNN.com

“Specialists from scientists to accountants have been dealing with data for decades,” said Martin Wattenberg, a researcher at IBM’s Center for Social Software. “What’s new is that there’s a whole lot more data of relevance to consumers. “At the same time, people are generating a whole lot of data themselves.” There are several reasons why we’re seeing more data visualization in popular culture and why it’s becoming simpler and more innovative, experts say. Computers and software have gotten cheaper during the past few decades, and the technology needed to build applications is now in the hands of more people. Meanwhile, more data are becoming digital, making it easier to parse and catalog. “You have stuff available on government sites that would have only been available on paper a decade ago,” Wattenberg said. Finally, through the advent of social media applications like Facebook and Twitter, coupled with the rise of increasingly sophisticated mobile phones, a cultural shift is seemingly under way. “People are sort of happily defining their own social networks for other people to see, and that has led people to


Data visualization: a new way of looking at the world – CNN.com

“Specialists from scientists to accountants have been dealing with data for decades,” said Martin Wattenberg, a researcher at IBM’s Center for Social Software. “What’s new is that there’s a whole lot more data of relevance to consumers. “At the same time, people are generating a whole lot of data themselves.” There are several reasons why we’re seeing more data visualization in popular culture and why it’s becoming simpler and more innovative, experts say. Computers and software have gotten cheaper during the past few decades, and the technology needed to build applications is now in the hands of more people. Meanwhile, more data are becoming digital, making it easier to parse and catalog. “You have stuff available on government sites that would have only been available on paper a decade ago,” Wattenberg said. Finally, through the advent of social media applications like Facebook and Twitter, coupled with the rise of increasingly sophisticated mobile phones, a cultural shift is seemingly under way. “People are sort of happily defining their own social networks for other people to see, and that has led people to become interested in exploring data in ways they weren’t interested before,” Wattenberg said.

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