Data Visualization

Data and information visualization (data viz or info viz) is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the graphic representation of data and information. It is a particularly efficient way of communicating when the data or information is numerous as for example a time series.

It is also the study of visual representations of abstract data to reinforce human cognition. The abstract data include both numerical and non-numerical data, such as text and geographic information. It is related to infographics and scientific visualization. One distinction is that it's information visualization when the spatial representation (e.g., the page layout of a graphic design) is chosen, whereas it's scientific visualization when the spatial representation is given.

From an academic point of view, this representation can be considered as a mapping between the original data (usually numerical) and graphic elements (for example, lines or points in a chart). The mapping determines how the attributes of these elements vary according to the data. In this light, a bar chart is a mapping of the length of a bar to a magnitude of a variable. Since the graphic design of the mapping can adversely affect the readability of a chart, mapping is a core competency of Data visualization.

Data and information visualization has its roots in the field of statistics and is therefore generally considered a branch of descriptive statistics. However, because both design skills and statistical and computing skills are required to visualize effectively, it is argued by authors such as Gershon and Page that it is both an art and a science.

Research into how people read and misread various types of visualizations is helping to determine what types and features of visualizations are most understandable and effective in conveying information.

Source: Data and information visualization (

Our World in Data

Our World in Data (OWID) is a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality.

Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power

Imagine creating a timeline of your country’s whole history stretching back to its inception. It would be no small task, and simply weighing the relative importance of so many great people, technological achievements, and pivotal events would be a tiny miracle in itself.

When Graphs Are a Matter of Life and Death

John Carter has only an hour to decide. The most important auto race of the season is looming; it will be broadcast live on national television and could bring major prize money. If his team wins, it will get a sponsorship deal and a chance to start making some real profits for a change.


visualization data visualization