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Why is Visualization so Important to Understanding?

image of Why is Visualization so Important?
Why is Visualization so Important?

I have finished reading Doughnut Economics, by Kate Raworth. Basically, the author proposes that we throw out all of the commonly accepted economic thinking of the past two centuries and replace it with an entirely new set of paradigms, starting with the concept of a doughnut – see the short video below to understand the importance of this.

If I haven’t lost you, I have commented many times that visualization is not given the respect and stature that it deserves. Why is visualization so important  to communication and understanding? Finally, I have some facts to back that opinion up.

Having finished watching the virtual Esri User Conference plenaries (which they did a great job with) along with 80,000 of my closest GIS buddies from around the globe I can tell you it was visual. The artistry and power of the maps that people create are amazing.

Raworth has a section in the early pages of the book entitled, “The Power of Pictures.” She points out that since the beginning of human history the most powerful stories have been told with pictures. In the book she uses many pictures to explain her new economic theories because she believes that the brain is wired for visuals.

To back this up she refers to a 1972 book, “Ways of Seeing,” by John Berger in which he points out that “a child looks and recognizes before it speaks.” Half of the nerve fibers in our brain are linked to vision.

The visual literacy expert Lynell Burmark explains, “unless our words, concepts and ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain and go out of the other ear. Words are processed by short term memory which can retain about 7 bits. Images go directly into long term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

When you think about it, I believe it is fair to say that visualization was one of, if not the primary human driver for the development of 3D laser scanning. And what about AR and VR? Aren’t they all about visualization? In fact most of us are in the 3D visualization business.

So don’t take visualization for granted and if you have an interest in learning about the new world of doughnut economics CLICK HERE.

Putting the two together could change the world, which we need to do.

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