Anyone working on big hairy problems like Smart Grid, high-speed rail, ocean policy, or designing California political districts will appreciate the power of bringing  Analytics and Data Visualization together.    They absolutely compliment each other.  Computers are great at crunching data and producing meaningful results.  Our brains are good at processing visual information.  The combination is like a brain enhancer.

Analytics is the application of computer science, operations research, and statistics to solve problems in business and industry.   Analytics is “the science of analysis”.   It is the process of obtaining an optimal or realistic decision based on existing data.   The INFORMS publication Analytics Magazine is a good place to follow developments in the field.

Data Visualization really started with Edward Tufte and his classic book, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.”  I recommend a fantastic video series,  Journalism in the Age of Data for an update on where the field of data visualization is going.   The video was produced in the Knight journalism program at Stanford University.