Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Why a Visualization is Worth a Thousand Data Points

By Jill Hardy
Content Strategist, Customer Education at Looker

July 9, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

We talk about data visualization (or “viz”) a lot at Looker. We believe in its power to tell stories, to help people see patterns and take action accordingly. In other words, visualization matters—a lot.

In the age of big data, visualization is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal as an analyst or data enthusiast. It can so drastically affect the way we interpret and understand information that it may seem like magic; when, in fact, it works so well because of the way the brain processes large amounts of information. Get it right, and you supercharge your efficiency, your ability to draw connections, and your communication.

Data Visualization Makes You More Efficient

Understanding the scope of data available today illuminates why visualization makes you more efficient, and how necessary it is for modern business.

For example, this picture (above), taken on my cell phone, occupies 2 MB of storage space.

Now, suppose that 2 MB could be represented by an inch (~2.5 cm) of physical space. If we laid out all the data in the world (33 zettabytes, according to the International Data Corporation) in a line, it could wrap around our planet about 9.5 million times.

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