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A Taxonomy of Visualization Techniques

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the picture-thousand-words dept.

Graphics 26

CowboyRobot writes "The ACM's Queue magazine has a new, comprehensive taxonomy of visualization techniques, drawing from the theories of Edward Tufte and citing examples from academia, government, and the excellent NYT visualization team. This list contains 12 steps for turning data into a compelling visualization: Visualize, Filter, Sort, Derive, Select, Navigate, Coordinate, Organize, Record, Annotate, Share, & Guide. 'For developers, the taxonomy can function as a checklist of elements to consider when creating new analysis tools.' The citations alone make this an article worth bookmarking."

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ManyEyes by IBM (4, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229147)

Many Eyes [ibm.com] by IBM offers 21 types of visualizations [ibm.com]

Re:ManyEyes by IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230595)

A lot of these visualizations seem to be focused on making things looking pretty rather than offering meaningful comparisons. Notably the bubble charts that overlap like venn diagrams.

Re:ManyEyes by IBM (0)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231237)

Article types: Many Eyes types: See relationships among data points Scatterplot Matrix Chart Network Diagram Compare a set of values Bar Chart Block Histogram Bubble Chart Track rises and falls over time Line Graph Stack Graph Stack Graph for Categories See the parts of a whole Pie Chart Treemap Treemap for Comparisons Analyze a text Word Tree Tag Cloud Phrase Net Word Cloud Generator See the world Ottawa Neighbourhood Map US County Map World Map Massachusetts Map New Jersey Map

Re:ManyEyes by IBM (0)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231281)

Article types
Data & View Specification: Visualize data by choosing visual encodings. Filter out data to focus on relevant Items. Sort Items to expose patterns. Derive values or models from source data.
View Manipulation: Select items to highlight, filter, or manipulate them. Navigate to examine high-level patterns and low-level detail. Coordinate views for linked, multi-dimensional exploration. Organize multiple windows and workspaces.
Process & Provenance: Record analysis histories for revisitation,, review and sharing. Annotate patterns to document findings. Share views and annotations to enable collaboration. Guide users through analysis tasks or stories.


Many Eyes types
See relationships among data points: Scatterplot. Matrix Chart. Network Diagram.
Compare a set of values: Bar Chart. Block Histogram. Bubble Chart. Track rises and falls over time: Line Graph. Stack Graph. Stack Graph for Categories.
See the parts of a whole: Pie Chart. Treemap. Treemap for Comparisons.
Analyze a text: Word Tree. Tag Cloud. Phrase Net. Word Cloud Generator.
See the world: Ottawa Neighbourhood Map. US County Map. World Map. Massachusetts Map. New Jersey Map.

turning data into a compelling visualization (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229245)

must mean really small slides where you cant really see whats going on with a puke green background and enormous blobs of text between

Re:turning data into a compelling visualization (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229393)

must mean really small slides where you cant really see whats going on with a puke green background and enormous blobs of text between

That's called an "academic paper", and it's designed to be intensely boring to ordinary human beings - to academia to, but they won't admit it - and this particular piece certainly fits the bill.

Re:turning data into a compelling visualization (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230173)

Usually ones with "taxonomy" in the title are doubly tedious.

Re:turning data into a compelling visualization (1)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230303)

Usually ones with "taxonomy" in the title are doubly tedious.
... beaten only by those with the word "ontology" in the title.

Re:turning data into a compelling visualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232299)

The actual content of Figure 1 is less than 50% of the green space devoted to it. Even in the original PDF, the content is virtually unreadable. Although I have spent decades staring at monitors, I wonder if even young eyes can read it to understand the relationship between the panels.....

While visually pleasing.. (2)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229273)

.. I can't help but think of this as more of a way to make data look the way you want it to.

In short, a visually pleasing way to bend the facts that are presented in the data.

Re:While visually pleasing.. (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229289)

Or to hide irrelevant data...

With great power comes great... whatwasthatagain? Electricity bills? Oh yeah...

Re:While visually pleasing.. (3, Insightful)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229853)

.. I can't help but think of this as more of a way to make data look the way you want it to.

In short, a visually pleasing way to bend the facts that are presented in the data.

Yes, of course visualisation can be used for that -- the same way statistics in general can be manipulated. But that is an abuse of the tools. I do understand what you're saying though (I think): it might be an easy trap to fall in if one becomes focussed on presentation and therefore losing sight of the actual goal. Used correctly I think visualisation software can provide many insights that would be difficult (prohibitively time-expensive, or just plain non-intuitive) using other traditional methods. As always though, it is up to the author(s) to ensure that the presented data (i.e. information) is correct.

Re:While visually pleasing.. (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234927)

Check out the book "How to Lie with Maps" [amazon.com]
It's pretty fun. That said, most of the most interesting visualization work I've seen tends to be roll-your-own using Processing/JAVA, etc. I haven't heard of any of this software before... and no mention of R?

Re:While visually pleasing.. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238383)

.. I can't help but think of this as more of a way to make data look the way you want it to.

In short, a visually pleasing way to bend the facts that are presented in the data.

Need some AI macros - "Make this data make us look profitable", kind of thing.

Network / Firewall visualization (0)

dave562 (969951) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229301)

Do any of you know any tools that I can feed a Cisco config file into and get a visual representation of the ACLs?

Re:Network / Firewall visualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229467)

Take a look at IBM's Many Eyes (21 different visualizations [ibm.com] ) -- maybe there's one that will fit the bill.

Here are a few examples of visualizations about "Cisco" (I'm not familiar with Cisco's config file and ACLs so I don't know if these are relevant):
CISCO.COM web site IA network diagram (level 2 & 3) [ibm.com]
CISCO.COM web site IA treemap [ibm.com]

Cisco device types [ibm.com]

# of Devices using a version of Cisco's IOS [ibm.com]

But how do they handle big data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229621)

Tableau, Qlikview precube it, only Spotfire can go directly against the database. And without big data, visual analysis these days is but a toy.

Re:But how do they handle big data? (1)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 2 years ago | (#39229677)

There's plenty of big data in medicine -- mass cytometry with 35-40 parameters per cell; gene expression profiling, deep sequencing with gene sequencing data on many individual cells per patient. Visualization needs to catch up with what's being done.

This is a great article! No wonder so few comments.

Re:But how do they handle big data? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230185)

Tableau, Qlikview precube it, only Spotfire can go directly against the database.

Are they webscale?

I preferred the previous one (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39229893)

A Tour through the Visualization Zoo [acm.org]

It seems to be more complete and more oriented to concepts instead of website examples. But may be a personal preference.

Visualization Periodic Table (5, Informative)

roger_pasky (1429241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230001)

A long time ago it was published at http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html [visual-literacy.org] and I find it quite useful to select the most appropriate to do a quick choice

Re:Visualization Periodic Table (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39230337)

It is ironic that anyone promoting data visualisation would slavishly copy the layout of the periodic table of the elements, which is one of the most brilliant examples in the history of the field precisely because it is derived from the real underlying structure of the chemical elements and as a result it highlights useful practical relationships. I have yet to discover another data set with the same underlying structure and the same resulting relationships between the data points, and thus I have yet to discover another context where that kind of periodic table is a useful tool rather than a gimmick.

That said, the content itself at the site you linked to seems interesting. It's just a shame they cheapened it by using a completely inappropriate metaphor.

Of all the /. stories that are partially hid, why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39230245)

This is easily the most densely packed with usefulness article I've seen on /. in months.
The irony that THIS OF ALL ARTICLES is partially hidden visually "makes me want to vomit"!

Data are plural (1)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232279)

In this article the authors refer to data in the singular. Data are plural, a datum is singular. Otherwise, a nice parsimonious review.
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