Although the Map & Data Library is physically closed, we are still available remotely and happy to help. We can conduct consultations using online teleconferencing software. Please feel free to contact us at mdl@library.utoronto.ca or use our help form. We have a number of tutorials available, are still supplying software licenses, and have compiled a list of resources for working with COVID-19 data.

Please note that our computer lab is also accessible for use through remote access. See this link for more information.

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations

Why Visualize?

The power of data visualizations is that they help us identify patterns in a sea of numbers, the scope or trend of a problem, or relationships between variables or entities. Data visualization gives us a better understanding of our data and helps us communicate that to others.

Don’t believe me? Consider a classic example, the Anscombe's Quartet. Looking at the data in tables and running basic statistical tests does not reveal the obvious patterns that emerge when the data is visualized.

First look at the data:

Anscombe's quartet

I

II

III

IV

x

y

x

y

x

y

x

y

10.0

8.04

10.0

9.14

10.0

7.46

8.0

6.58

8.0

6.95

8.0

8.14

8.0

6.77

8.0

5.76

13.0

7.58

13.0

8.74

13.0

12.74

8.0

7.71

9.0

8.81

9.0

8.77

9.0

7.11

8.0

8.84

11.0

8.33

11.0

9.26

11.0

7.81

8.0

8.47

14.0

9.96

14.0

8.10

14.0

8.84

8.0

7.04

6.0

7.24

6.0

6.13

6.0

6.08

8.0

5.25

4.0

4.26

4.0

3.10

4.0

5.39

19.0

12.50

12.0

10.84

12.0

9.13

12.0

8.15

8.0

5.56

7.0

4.82

7.0

7.26

7.0

6.42

8.0

7.91

5.0

5.68

5.0

4.74

5.0

5.73

8.0

6.89

 

Now look at the data visualized:

AnscombeQuartet

Source: Anscombe’s quartet. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017 from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anscombe%27s_quartet

Still not convinced? Well consider some of these “True Stories about the Benefits of Data Visualization”: http://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/?p=601