IDRC, Infotimes and Faculty of Computers and Information organized a workshop on data visualization at Cairo University on May 12, 2016. The workshop aimed to introduce and familiarize the participants with the basics of visual analytics process with practical training on one of the world’s leading software in this field. The main focus was on data design and how to convert data into graphs and provided several applications that help in data design process.
Topics discussed included creating compelling visuals: basic theory of data visualization including matching data and chart types; understanding how data visualization can enhance a news story and how to identify data to include in visualizations.
The workshop also covered transforming data visualization into visual storytelling: redesign of data visualizations based on design principles, storytelling strategies and story angle.
Another topic was visualizing election data with Infogr.am: using free online software to take Excel data and create embeddable charts including selecting data, choosing a chart form, citing the data and writing a headline.
In a world of continually increasing amounts of generated data and with the rapid improvements in data storage and processing capabilities, acquisition of raw data becomes no longer the problem but rather the ability of using it for an enhanced decision making. For a considerable period of time, working on powerful methods and tools for automated data analysis and knowledge discovery was the focus of both research community and the industry. However, given the irreplaceable role of human mind, a shift of focus was witnessed more than a decade ago towards combining human and machine processing powers for data analysis.
Within that stream, the term ‘visual analytics’ was first coined in 2004 to describe a new multidisciplinary scientific field that integrates several areas including, but not limited to, data analysis, visualization, decision making, and human-computer interface. “Visual analytics combines automated analysis techniques with interactive visualizations for an effective understanding, reasoning and decision making on the basis of very large and complex datasets.”