Cross-Posted at http://gisandmapping.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/visualize-this/
We’ve all seen and evaluated various graphs, charts, and diagrams at some point in our lives. Their constant use in the maths, sciences, media, and everyday magazine has surely caught your attention more than once. Visualizations, or Data Visualizations as they are also termed, provide us with an effective method for communicating knowledge and information in a graphic manner which everyone can easily understand. For more on what visualizations are, see here and here.
Common visualizations like pie charts, venn diagrams, and concept maps are great and all, but can they really communicate all the varying types of information we wish to represent graphically? The answer is No, but not to worry, as in fact there are many visualization methods out there which are just as, if not more effective, we are only less aware of them.
So does anybody really know how many visualization methods truly exist? Likely not, but thankfully for us Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler have already gone through the daunting task of determining 100 unique visualizations which all meet specific criteria, and they have depicted them based on the design of the periodic table of elements, as shown below.
Chris Wallace has gone even further and created a page based off this table where you can find more information on each individual method via ‘Google Images’ and ‘Wikipedia’. To see this site, click here.
The periodic table of visualization methods was created through extensive research by Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler, and if you’re interested in seeing how this table was created, and what criteria they determined was necessary, see their article: Towards A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for Management.
The power these visualizations have in communicating information is incredible, and this table does an excellent job of showcasing a wide range of methods for almost any project in mind. Choosing how to best visualize information for the task at hand is a strategy, but hopefully this chart can aid in your decision. Until next time, Cheers!