Data visualization is a fascinating thing. It can enhance our understanding of reality by modeling incredibly complicated things in a manner that makes them “touchable” or “graspable”.
There are different types of data visualization, a fact that corresponds precisely to one of my favorite themes:
1) reality is an incredibly complicated thing, and faceted like a gemstone;
2) we are only able to apprehend/comprehend one facet at any given moment of awareness;
3) if we make the effort to understand all of the various facets, one by one, that we can begin to have an intuitve grasp of the larger and more complex structures of meaning and connection that lay underneath the surface of our day-to-day realities.
I’ve proferred a simplistic model, to be sure, but this article does a very nice job of showing how data visualization is being used to understand 3-dimensional levels of complexity that are almost too much for our brains to handle. I like it when we use our IT tools to understand the facts better, rather than distort and lie and sell crap to people who aren’t paying proper attention.