The Value of Visualization

Here is a map of some of Canada’s National Historic Sites. Click on the picture to interact with the different locations.

Map of Canada's National Historic Sites

Map of Canada’s National Historic Sites

This is a prime example of the value of visualization.

Visualization helps the viewer visualize the data set being presented. Without a map, the viewer would have a very hard time understanding where all the sites are located. It is much more appealing to look at a map rather than reading a data set. One medium that greatly benefits from the added value of visualization is journalism.

A leader in utilizing visualizations to better help their readers understand and connect with a story is La Presse. La Presse has created maps for topics ranging from common traffic areas in Montreal to a rundown of Montreal’s underground sex industry. Not only do maps simplify the intake of information, they also accommodate a variety of topics.

However, maps are not the only form of visualization that can add to a story. Graphs, charts, audio, video, and timelines are just a few other examples of forms of visualizations that can benefit journalism. What all of these have in common are ways in which information can be reprocessed in order to simplify it, interact with it, and change the ways that readers interpret a story.

It is important to remember that visualizations do not replace the traditional story format. What they do is significantly add to it.

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