The Benefits of Data Visualization in Science

by Feb 27, 2020

Data visualization is a powerful technique that is used extensively to enable complex information to be more readily understood. It is one of the ways businesses cope with big data and the enormous quantities of information required by decision-makers. It is well-established that the right visual presentation can add a tremendous amount of informative and persuasive power to the data that was used to create it.

Helping management make the right choice regarding product launches based on customer trends is not the only way that data visualization can be used. The same techniques and benefits afforded corporate stakeholders are available for practitioners in other fields. Any endeavor that makes use of large quantities of information or complicated data can use it more effectively through visualization.

Science is a broad category that encompasses diverse subjects ranging from microbiology to astronomy. A common theme that runs throughout all scientific disciplines is the reliance on information to develop and test theories or explain physical phenomena. This data is often voluminous and does not lend itself to being easily understood in the form in which it was originally collected.

Even if the experts can decipher the data and make sense of it as a mass of numbers or reading, disseminating the conclusions they reach demands a different approach. Data visualization offers a method with which some of the most complex scientific theories and descriptions can be easily explained. Let’s take a look at some visualizations designed to help non-experts and experts alike understand some of the complexities of the world around us.

Visualization in Climate Science and Meteorology

Climate scientists and meteorologists are tasked with processing immense amounts of data. This information may need to be processed rapidly to enable accurate warnings regarding extreme weather events. At other times the focus may be on analyzing accumulated data to identify trends that need to be fully understood to be adequately addressed.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a suite of tools that rely on data visualization to allow an average user to view and create images and animations based on information gathered from radar, satellites, and other sources. Users can explore things like past and future climate risks for their location and if they will be affected by high tides. The tools are much more informative than just reading about the subjects.

Visual Data and Chemistry

The Cambridge Structural Database has been in existence since 1965 and has been used to collect the crystal structures for organic and organometallic compounds. In June 2019 it celebrated the milestone of having the millionth structure entered into the database. Chemists use the database and its visualizations to study trends in chemistry and science in general. They are using new graphs and deeper visual representations to share the results of their analysis.

Mathematics and Data Visualization

Some mathematicians consider their discipline to be the purest science. Unlike sciences such as geology or biology, there are no tangible elements studied in mathematics. Yet this collection of abstract theorems is used to explain virtually every concrete item and occurrence in our lives. Numbers and their applications are everywhere.

Visualization is beneficial in teaching mathematical concepts as well as illustrating its abstractions in terms that humans can more easily grasp. The intersection of visualized mathematics and business can be seen in the statistical graphs that drive corporate decisions. A single graph is usually more informative than a careful reading of the numbers used to create it.

Visual mathematics uses pictures rather than just symbols to teach math concepts to students in grades K-8. Educators have found that by combining the precise thinking necessary to master math with visualization and flexibility, students become more engaged and the subject is infused with new life.

Creating Visualization from Your Databases

Visualization can be used to make any type of data more informative and, by association, more valuable. From rainfall statistics in the Midwest to sales data across the nation, it will carry more weight if presented visually. All you need is a database full of information and the right tool to transform it into something worthy of an audience.

Aqua Data Studio is a versatile database tool that enables users to create visualizations that increase the impact of their data. It supports a wide range of database platforms including those located in the public cloud. A user-friendly interface enables visualizations and dashboards to be created by simply dragging and dropping data. It’s a great tool for making your data speak, whether you are focused on the molecular structure of crystals or the reason one of your sales teams is underperforming.