Visuals Relieve Brain Overload

A BBC article, “Pretty Pictures: Can Images Stop Data Overload?” by business reporter, Fiona Graham, supports what many geospatial researchers have argued about the many reasons for business to use GIS and visual images. A neuroscience and psychology lecturer at Brunel University found using images help the brain process large amounts of data because they can use and retain the information more efficiently. They use David McCandless’s Information is Beautiful website as an example of data visualisation.

One thought that the article raises is the abscence of any spatial vocubulary even though data visualization leans heavily towards geospatial patterns, analysis, and mapping.  GIS and other geo-spatial techniques remain an invisible step in the process between data and visual outcome or “pretty pictures”.  Finding support for the use of images in the business world might be step towards raising awareness of the diverse applicability of GIS and geo-visualization.


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