What is it about?
This research study compared people with a lot of scientific expertise (oceanographers) to those with only about a high-school level expertise (first and second-year undergraduates). The novices needed data visualizations translated in ways that the experts did not. Even with colors that were more culturally meaningful, titles that removed abbreviations and jargon, and geographic labels to orient the viewer, novices still found it difficult to understand the data patterns in the visualizations of temperature and chlorophyll.
Photo by NASA on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Spatial data visualizations are a version of graphical representations of data, similar to charts and graphs. Scientists may use these visualizations to explain their work, but many people are unfamiliar with them, especially if the scientists don't change the visualizations to make them clearer for less expert audiences. However, these visualizations can be a powerful depiction of many of our Earth's phenomena, such as global climate change, and therefore, making them understandable could allow more people to understand the science better.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: When a Picture Isn't Worth 1000 Words: Learners Struggle to Find Meaning in Data Visualizations, Journal of Geoscience Education, August 2016, Taylor & Francis,
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