Data visualization

From HLWIKI Canada
Revision as of 23:15, 25 April 2012 by Dean (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Are you interested in contributing to HLWIKI Canada - contact:

To browse other articles on a range of HSL topics, see the wiki index.



See also Data curation, Information visualization new2.gif, Mashups in medicine & Social network analysis


Data visualization is the study of the visual representation of data where "information has been abstracted in some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information". Data visualization can also be seen as a subcategory of information visualization dealing with a range of graphics, geographic and spatial data (e.g., thematic cartography).

In a general sense, data visualization refers to any technique where images, diagrams or animations are used to communicate information or data of varying degrees of complexity. Using visualization to convey complexity has been an effective mode of communicating the abstract and concrete for millenia. Some historical examples of data visualization are Lescaux cave painting, Egyptian hieroglyphics, Greek geometry and da Vinci's methods of technical drawing.

Data visualization today is used in information science, education, engineering (e.g., product visualization), interactive multimedia, medicine, and so on. A typical data visualization application can be seen in the field of computer graphics which may be the most important development in visualizing information since the invention of central perspective in the Renaissance. The development of animation has also helped to advance the field of data and information visualization.

What is Data Visualization?



  • Uses data from academic journal articles to show where research on topics is being conducted
  • Hasn't been updated in sever years but is still a good example of using structured data from academic journal articles.
  • displays some examples of the Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics, with the view that the contrast may be useful, inform current practice, and provide pointers to both historical and current work
  • Produced by GE
  • looks through 7.2 million electronic medical records to illustrate relationships between various conditions and how common those connections are.
  • This map shows earthquakes, including magnitude, as they are reported by the US Geological Survey
  • The Name Voyager visualizes a century of baby name trends based on census data.
  • Sorts current news headlines visually
  • Visually shows the popularity and scientific evidence for popular health supplements.
  • A simple tag cloud combined with a slider shows how the terms used in Presidential addresses have changed over time
  • A visualization of the metadata standards used in cultural industries (including libraries and archives)
  • A couple demonstrations of visualizing information flow in science
  • A simple image showing different types of fish and which ones are sustainable to consume

Blogs / Websites

  • Personal website of author, programmer, and visualizer Ben Fry
  • Personal blog and website of Jer Thorp
  • Authored by David McCandless


  • a small, free JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data
  • An IBM tool for sharing and visualizing datasets
  • Wordle is a simple tool for producing attractive word clouds

Hans Rosling's statistical visualization for global health


Personal tools