For many people big data is still a mysterious word to describe everything and anything. Explaining it can be an art all its own, and in today’s day and age visuals are a necessity. As stated in David Hoffer's, What Does Big Data Look Like? article, “a simple Google image search on “big data” reveals numerous instances of three dimensional ones and zeros, a few explanatory infographics, and even the interface from The Matrix”-leaving you to wonder, just what is big data?
At Intridea, we’ve had a few opportunities to visually define big data. Our most recent project being, HumanProgress.org; a comprehensive research tool that allows users to explore a wealth of data on human well-being and human development indicators.
With interactive maps, visually stunning displays, and real time data, Intridea dug deep into the trenches of big data; sifting, managing, and eventually empowering users through data visualization. It was here, as Hoffer states, that big data became “human”. No longer locked in thousands of spreadsheets, Intridea gave life to a tremendous amount of data; making it approachable and interactive.
Big data can be an ominous word, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to data visualization, the abstract isn't so mysterious anymore. And as Hoffer explains, when done right, “big data becomes more malleable, actionable, and, ultimately, more human”…something we all could use a little more of in today’s cyber society.