Data Visualization with Pitch Interactive

Author: Jack Martin

How do you decipher data into visual trends? Data visualization!

Wes Grubbs, founder of Berkeley, CA based Pitch Interactive, made a stop in Milwaukee to show the future of data. Pitch Interactive is one of the leading data visualization studios in the United States. @PitchInc has worked with companies such as GE, Google, Facebook, Scientific American and many more.

Off to a great start at tonight’s event! #MIMAMKE pic.twitter.com/thoPLBBJbn
— MilwaukeeIMA (@MilwaukeeIMA) June 19, 2014

The crowd before Grubbs’ presentation…we were in for a treat! (Shoutout to the Intercontinental and MIMA for putting the event together!)

Grubbs stated the night on the right foot, giving praise for Spotted Cow and Wisconsin (Pitch Interactive started off in Madison, WI before relocating to California). A surefire way to win a Wisconsin crowd over is to give praise to cheese, beer, or the Packers.

Data visualization: What is it?

There are a lot of tools available to track data. In fact there’s often so much data available that it can become frustrating to find the results you are looking for. This is where data visualization comes in. Studios such as Pitch Interactive turn raw data into easy to understand visual works of art.

Data doesn’t lie, but it can be misrepresented. When dealing with data, you have to remove your opinions and view the data at hand. Grubbs pointed out a project that his team was particularly interested in.

Below is a screenshot of data visualization chart from Pitch Interactive.

35k lines of data, 5days to produce. Data visualization magic: answering questions you want answered. See: http://t.co/3BF5uEpdS6 #MIMAMKE
— Erin Ulicki (@erinulicki) June 20, 2014

Data visualization: A case study

The Pitch Interactive team periodically takes on unpaid projects that they are passionate about. One project their team was interested in was drone strikes in Pakistan. Grubbs admitted he thought drones made sense; drones allowed lives to be saved and a way to protect American lives. After seeing the data, Grubbs soon had a different opinion.

Take a look at this: drones.pitchinteractive.com/

Seriously, take a look at the link before reading on.

The drone data that was first introduced to the Pitch Interactive team seemed mundane. Death is an inevitable part of a drone attack. However, once the data was communicated in a way other than raw numbers, a story unfolded. A new perspective on drone strikes was evident. Drone attacks were not as targeted as we might have first thought. When the data visualization played out, Grubbs had a new opinion on drone strikes. With the work complete, the data visualization project was posted.

Mashable, The Guardian, Slate, Huffington Post and more picked up the piece. Pitch Interactive did not say drones are bad…or good. The team merely planted the data set into a visual representation and posted the piece online. The assumptions, such as “Maybe the drones aren’t accurate” or “Maybe there is misinformation where the attacks are taking place” were left for others to analyze.

Bottom Line

We can all look at data and interpret it differently. Data visualization is a way to take the data set to create a visual representation the average person can review. Data visualization brings meaning to numbers. You can see and feel the impact of a data set.

For more case studies take a look at Pitch Interactive’s site – pitchinteractive.com

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the future of data visualization!

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