VisWeek Preview: Changing the World with Visualization (Panel)

Visualization saves the world

What good is visualization if it can’t save the world? Or maybe at least change it. Make it a little better. Make a difference. I am organizing a panel at InfoVis next week to discuss what visualization already does, and what else we can do to free visualization from the confines of the ivory tower and have an impact in the real world. Three remarkable people will present their views and discuss with the audience.

Sarah Cohen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who used to work for the Washington Post and now is a professor at Duke University. She has a lot of experience using visualization, though interestingly mostly in analyzing data to find stories, not so much presenting them.

Jérôme Cukier is a data editor with the OECD, who is not only interested in publishing data, but also in getting people to pay attention to it. He wants to reach more people, convince them to analyze what is already out there, and find new and interesting connections.

Martin Wattenberg should be known to people in visualization (hint: he runs the group at IBM that runs Many Eyes). He also has a journalism background, and he sure knows how to get people to pay attention to visualization.

This panel will require audience participation: at least half the session will be available for discussion. So bring your questions, thoughts, and curiosity. And don’t be shy to ask, comment, and criticize!

We will save the world on Wednesday, October 14, at 2pm.

2 responses to “VisWeek Preview: Changing the World with Visualization (Panel)”

  1. Marianne Avatar
    Marianne

    Hello, I was wondering if you could identify what is the most obvious tool to create a chart like this one, ie with custom graphics. I am not a visual professional, I work with Excel and Numbers & Keynote (Mac), but I do share your view that the presentation of data is crucial to pass a message to an audience. Very good blog tough. Marianne

  2. Robert Kosara Avatar
    Robert Kosara

    I don’t know a charting tool that can create this kind of chart, your best bet will be some kind of drawing/illustration program. On the Mac, there’s Illustrator and Photoshop, or lower-priced (and often more modern) alternatives like Acorn, OmniGraffle, etc.

    It’s also a rather bad chart, though, due to the linear vs. quadratic change problem.