Week 6 – Data visualization

Its surprising to realise that the human’s ability to process information is incredibly poor. We struggle to identify trends from raw data alone and therefore often require drawing and graphs, often coloured to make sense of the data being presented. There are two aspects that the tutorial made me think about. Firstly) a new global map was released last month, which won awards on its ‘enhanced’ and more accurate representation of the earth – though it makes Antarctica appear on the other side of the planet from Australia. Secondly) the human elements in creating data visualization. When we look at a graph, its not the data we see but another person’s interpretation of the data and how they have chosen to present it. I personally experience this when I created a bunch of charts displaying the variation in topographical elevation changes along the Lachlan river. Depending on the units I used in each axis, the size of the graph and the number of transects in which were used, resulted in very different looking graphs. Without a thorough explanation to accompany the graph, many different assumptions could be made.

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