Disinformation Visualization: How to lie with datavis
By Mushon Zer-Aviv, January 31, 2014 Seeing is believing. When working with raw data we’re often encouraged to present it differently, to give it a form, to map it or visualize it. But all maps lie. In fact, maps have to lie, otherwise they wouldn't be useful. Some are transparent and obvious lies, such as a tree icon on a map often represents more than one tree. It all sounds very sinister, and indeed sometimes it is. Over the past year I’ve had a few opportunities to run Disinformation Visualization workshops, encouraging activists, designers, statisticians, analysts, researchers, technologists and artists to visualize lies. Centuries before big data, computer graphics and social media collided and gave us the datavis explosion, visualization was mostly a scientific tool for inquiry and documentation. Reproducing Lies Let’s set up some rules. We don’t spread visual lies by presenting false data. Should we legalize the killing of babies? I would hope most of you would say: No.
Related: Data journalism
• Data Visualisation
• Datajournalism / storytelling