21 July 2017

The next step in data visualization, The geographic dimension

21 July 2017,

The next step in data visualization, the Geographic Dimension

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of
God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.


This was the beginning of Creation, and we could say that it was binary in nature: heaven-earth, light-darkness. Time was thus also created as day and night also came into being. Every day other “things” were created, and the World became more and more crowded.



On the sixth day man is also created and becomes the one responsible for everything else which was created before him. He began to interpret the “things” he had to care for and also began to feel the need to organize them. Man therefore invented numbers.


He began by first organizing those numbers in tables, and then by looking at those tables he began to have insights and he began taking decisions based on those insights.


Man also began to move from place to place, and felt the need to trace his steps, as well as the earth and the seas on which he was wandering. Those tracings began soon enough to be indispensible to all who needed to travel, and they were called maps.


As technology also began to evolve, those maps as well as man’s representations of the numbers began to become more and more complex, and also accurate. Despite being accurate, however, those numbers were very “dry.” Man therefore began to give the numbers a graphic representation. He was representing, on paper, the evolution of some categories of numbers in time.

He got new insights from this new type of representation, and it was more appropriate for him as he was always an “analogue” being, rather than a “digital” one. In his search for better tools, he eventually invented the calculation machine which through evolution became the computer. The French gave it a more “mystical” name, as they called it “Ordinateur” or “Creator,” and funny enough, those computers were functioning based on those binary numbers which appeared “in the beginning”

As the age of computers began, all numbers received the name “Data”, and eventually everything that was knowledge began to be regarded abstractly as Data.

Data began to be processed by computers, and eventually maps also began to be represented in the so-called “digital” form.

However, data was data, and maps were maps.

Companies like BusinessObjects or IBM were creating tools for the organization and representation of data. Other companies like ESRI, Google, or Nokia are creating maps in digital form.

This separation disappeared when data began to have a so-called “spatial’ dimension, which in the beginning was an address.

This became the bridge between data and maps.

This was how data became spatial, and companies like Galigeo, who saw the connection between data and maps, invented tools to integrate the data with the maps. A new step in data representation was taken, the spatial or geographical representation.

This enables new insights and better decisions that can be taken on these insights.

The data is then suddenly no longer “dry,” as it became “spatial”, as it became integrated into the whole world. New connections, which were previously hidden, became visible. Now, man is better equipped to fulfill his responsibilities which were entrusted to him on the sixth day of creation


Bogdan Marin