Visualizing Data

There is plenty of data in the world. Mostly we are unable to process it accurately, and we rely on intuitive judgments to draw meaning from it. Hans Rosling, the Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, has come up with new techniques of data visualization over the past few years to enable us to draw more accurate information from large data sets.

Hans Rosling developed the techniques to interpret world health and economic data. He draws conclusions that are not obvious from a casual observation. He provided a remarkable presentation of his techniques at the international Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference in 2006 and followed up with another in 2007.

Rosling sold the Trendalyzer software to Google in March 2007. Google have indicated that the software (or a version of it) will be freely available, but they have not announced what they plan to do with it.

For me, the business significance is the potential benefit of not just the statistical analysis of data, but the visualization of it. The human brain is designed to process vast amounts (in digital terms) of data through visual pattern recognition. Statistical software can process the data and draw all the same conclusions, but not in a way we can easily understand. Visualization software provides the link.

Here are a few companies in this area:

One of the principle lessons Hans Rosling gives is that we don’t need more data or better analysis. We need better presentation of the data so we can make more sense of it. That is worth bearing in mind if you are considering a Business Intelligence project.

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