Australian Bureau of Statistics

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1211.0.55.001 - Research Paper: Data Visualisation, Jul 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2007  First Issue
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WHAT IS DATA VISUALISATION?


WHAT IS DATA VISUALISATION?

Data visualisation is defined as "the set of techniques used to turn a set of data into visual insight. It aims to give the data a meaningful representation by exploiting the powerful discerning capabilities of the human eye. The data is displayed as 2D or 3D images using techniques such as colorization, 3D imaging, animation and spatial annotation to create an instant understanding from multi-variable data." (Fisher, 1999) A more concise explanation may be that of Palace (1996) as "the visual interpretation of complex relationships in multidimensional data." Essentially it is presenting data in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and has the ability to inform and provide value to the user.


Data visualisation deals with the concept of perception. The main issue with perception is "how humans attach meaning to the sensory information they receive" (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). It could be suggested that attaching meaning refers to the ability to create and develop stories that are associated with the data or that arise depending on how it is displayed. This perception is critical as the greater amount of meaning that a user can obtain, the more likely they are to use and store this information.


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