Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Brain Food Tuesday

Changing the pace from the previous cordite and sulfurous fumes coming from the post on Afghanistan. I am gratifed to share this next post from Steve DeAngelis of Enterra Solutions.

Steve writes:
Nowadays an oft-heard complaint is that we are being bombarded with so much data that we are being overloaded. Humankind has always struggled with how to make sense of the world around us. We draw pictures, develop taxonomies, create graphs, generate maps, and so forth. Good visualization of data helps us draw the maximum amount of benefit in the least amount of time from a large amount of data. Often in my business meetings, I use a white board or grab a scrap piece of paper to draw out an idea I'm trying to explain. These doodles often find their way into more formal PowerPoint presentations. Using visualization to enhance understanding is a tried and true method of knowledge transfer. Hence, the old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been particularly useful for visualizing data associated with particular locations. Visualization can be so powerful that The Economist reports "interest groups around the world are using mapping tools and internet-based information sources to campaign for change" ["Mapping a better world," 6 June 2009 print issue].

The stand out find in Steve's post is Gapminder and their youtube video 200 years that changed the world. watch it and be amazed and informed.
This graphic illustrates how the world has changed in the past 200 years and puts a graph to the map that grand strategist Thomas Barnett created to define the gap and core states.

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