Archive for September, 2013

The Color of Fire: How Palette Choice Impacts Maps of Yosemite’s Rim Fire

September 16, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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When preparing visualisations of data (for business or otherwise), think about what it is you are trying to convey and how easy it is (or not) to determine that information at a glance.


Compare this image depicting the progress of the massive Rimfire in California (source Wired):

Rimfire Progress Palette 1

Rimfire Progress Palette 1

and this (source Wired):

Rimfire Progress Palette 2

Rimfire Progress Palette 2

One uses a rather random colour scale for each of the days’  fire progress, where as the second one makes a colour progression reflecting the fire’s progression.

Read more about how this was prepared here:

Hierarchy of Business Data Needs

September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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Kelle O’Neal over at Information Management talks about a business’s hierarchy of needs as a variation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (

Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs (source Wikipedia)

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid

I was thinking…what about a hierarchy of needs focusing on the use of data in business.

At the base, records, data points about business events such as transactions, customer and supplier details, and product details. Data is the foundation, without which you would have nothing.

Next, databases, and sometimes, spreadsheets as bulk storage of those records. This also provides some way of organising the data. You could consider data warehouses here too, as big databases, in a way.

Followed by querying and reporting. Having data is useless unless you can access it and do something with it.

Now we’re getting exciting…with the next level up being business intelligence, analytics and visualization. This adds sophisticated querying, you could say, and reporting. Some of this can be dashboards, graphic charts or even geospatial representation.

Finally, at the top of the hierarchy, I think would be data quality and master data management.

Now, you could also say that MDM and data quality should come first….but if you have no data to govern or ensure quality of, then why have MDM and DQ?

What we see in the real and practical world, since we supposedly have skills in foresight and planning, is knowing that we want to have useful data for business decisions, we should logically ensure DQ and MDM is done first.