Information Visualization: Examples & Types

Instructor: David Gloag
In this lesson, we'll take a look at visualization, what it is, what information visualization is, types of information visualization, and some examples.

See and Understand

We collect information at an alarming rate. We collect buying information so that we can predict spending habits, we collect financial information so that we can understand how our business operates, and we even collect local news stories so we know what's happening in the world around us. You could say we're addicted to it. And that trend will only increase as we strive to learn more about ourselves and our world. So, how do we get on top if it? How do we make sense of the endless stream of information? We make use of a concept known as visualization, and its relative, information visualization.

What is Visualization?

The process of translating a concept, thought, or idea into visual terms is known as visualization. Its purpose is to convey meaning in a simpler fashion, so that idea can be more easily digested. Most of us use this quite often in our daily lives. For example, think about the last time you tried to explain something to a friend. Did you describe some aspect of the concept using hand gestures? Or did you try to verbally paint a picture? If you did, you were using visualization to get your friend to understand the topic at hand.

What is Information Visualization?

Information visualization is a specific form of visualization. The difference is the input into the translation process. Instead of a concept, thought, or idea, it uses collected information. We routinely see examples of information visualization in places like our favorite weather channel (graphs and charts), online through services like Google Maps (maps), and even in blockbuster movies (special effects). Information visualization takes raw information that is seemingly random and converts it into a visual form that we can more easily understand.

3D Scatter Plot Example

Types of Information Visualization

There are several different types of information visualization. They each present information in a different visual fashion. They include:

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