Panel: Changing the World with Visualization

Data collected by government agencies, or by other parties paid for with taxpayer money, have been available in the past. Most of those data were difficult to get access to, and even harder to understand. Recent efforts like are making vast amounts of government and other data easily accessible. While the raw data is now available, for the vast majority of people, it is still of little use. The data formats are often not compatible with spreadsheet software, and even if: who is going to sift through thousands – or even millions – of numbers to try to understand them?
Visualization is what makes data accessible, intelligible, and interesting. Even a few simple charts can shed light on a large dataset, and will be seen by many more people than the actual numbers.
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Robert Kosara, Sarah Cohen, Jérôme Cukier, Martin Wattenberg,
Panel: Changing the World with Visualization,
IEEE Visualization Conference Compendium, 2009