Data visualization
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Data Visualization. Lecture 8. Data Visualization. Historically, data visualization served to make hidden relationships comprehensible or complex ones visible. The advent of informatics tools has let scientists. easily and rapidly generate of visualizations;

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Data visualization1
Data Visualization

Historically, data visualization served to make hidden relationships comprehensible or complex ones visible.

The advent of informatics tools has let scientists

  • easily and rapidly generate of visualizations;

  • view their data through several lenses;

  • even interact with their data in novel ways;

  • make sense of high dimensional data sets such as those from microarrays; and

  • see more data in finer detail than before, as with MRIs.

Moreover these tools serve as cognitive aids, reducing the need to hold multiple data representations in memory.

Cholera in the age of snow
Cholera in the Age of Snow

John Snow’s (1854) plot of cholera deaths illustrated the link between cholera and the Broad Street water pump.

Minard s perspective on napolean s defeat
Minard’s Perspective on Napolean’s Defeat

Charles Minard’s (1869) map of Napolean’s Russian campaign illustrates the extent of his army’s loss.

Data visualization software
Data Visualization Software

Scientists across disciplines rely on software that displays the structure, dynamics, and interactions in their data.

Informatics tools may specialize on a particular type of data or a particular scientific field, as with

  • structural and functional MRI results,

  • data in geographical information systems,

  • molecular structure and chemical properties,

  • astronomical measurements and imagery.

Other informatics software provides general charting and plotting capabilities.


mri3dX analyzes and displays voxel data from MRIs.


ArcGIS lets scientists display and analyze data with important geospatial components.

Viewing the land use of a region.

Laying historical tornado paths on urban maps.

Visual molecular dynamics
Visual Molecular Dynamics

VMD displays complex molecular systems from x-ray diffraction and nuclear magnetic resonance data sets.


Karma displays and analyzes astronomical data.


Spotfire displays high dimensional data, such as the microarray data set shown below, in multiple modes.

Many eyes
Many Eyes

Many Eyes encourages collaborative visualization and interpretation of data sets.

Users upload data in tab-delimited formats and have access to several chart and graph options including

  • line graphs,

  • network diagrams,

  • tag clouds, and

  • world and country maps.

The web site includes features for

  • commenting on data and visualizations,

  • sharing snapshots of visualizations,

  • and building topic communities.

Many eyes1
Many Eyes

Motion chart aka trendalyzer
Motion Chart (aka Trendalyzer)

Motion charts plot multi-dimensional time series data and animate their dynamics.

Motion charts are accessible through Google Docs, Google Gadgets, and the Google Visualization API.

View examples online at