What is Visual Data Analysis?

Visual data analysis blends highly advanced computational methods with sophisticated graphics engines to tap the extraordinary ability of humans to see patterns and structure in even the most complex visual presentations. Currently applied to massive, heterogeneous, and dynamic datasets, such as those generated in studies of astrophysical, fluidic, biological, and other complex processes, the techniques have become sophisticated enough to allow the interactive manipulation of variables in real time. Ultra high-resolution displays allow teams of researchers to zoom into interesting aspects of the renderings, or to navigate along interesting visual pathways, following their intuitions and even hunches to see where they may lead. New research is now beginning to apply these sorts of tools to the social sciences as well, and the techniques offer considerable promise in helping us understand complex social processes like learning, political and organizational change, and the diffusion of knowledge.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I know that data sets and GIS experts are becoming more common in academic libraries as scholars expect more in this realm. - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011
  • Very much linked to Collective Intelligence help us to express the churn and understand the data we gather- DaveP DaveP Nov 20, 2011
  • This technology is absolutely critical to realizing the potential of Learning Analytics. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 21, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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