Data Visualisation – a powerful tool


A wealth of information is collected all over the planet each day – scientific instruments, surveys, behaviours, and physical movement of man and machines. Data visualisation is a way of interpreting and presenting that data in ways that simplify and provide a visual representation of it as either a moving or static image, to make it more easily understood.
One method, Time Series Visualisation, combines data and motion to show changes over a given period of time. A line with varying thickness can represent greater or lesser data values at a given point of time, showing change in an easily understood way.

Another, Network Visualisation, connects nodes with a network of lines representing relationships or flows of communication, revealing the complex connections between seemingly disparate entities.

Zero Noon” by Rafael Lorenzo-Hemmer, shown in the image above, uses Time Series Visualisation to represent data in the form of a clock, marking off ‘time’. By dividing the minutes in 24 hours by the number of events in a given data type, the display continually updates, showing how many of those events have happened since noon (the display resets to zero each day at noon).

In the left image, the clock counts how many plastic bags have been used in the USA since the previous noon – on the right, a more sobering count shows the number of reported rapes.

Many interesting and socially relevant data types can be selected by the user, and showing the ever increasing count in the style of passing time makes this visualisation of data powerfully thought provoking, while remaining easy to understand.


Reas, C., & McWilliams, C. (2010). Form + code in design, art and architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Retrieved from

Lozano-Hemmer, R (2013).Zero Noon. Retrieved July 22, 2016 from

Zero Noon [Image] (2013). Retrieved from

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