The trend in computing today is questioning every aspect of life and compiling data on it. We can take massive volumes of data and identify deficiencies in the way we run our lives. Directions Magazine’s article, “New map-based visualization provides insight into Seattle commuting data” is an excellent example of this. IDV Solutions is a data visualization company that took information from the U.S. Census Bureau and other public sources to create an infographic that displays detailed information on the geography of Seattle’s commuting trends. Infographics help translate the data that we take from the physical world and put it in a data structure that takes the shape of the physical world as well, allowing the reader to quickly spot trends and make decisions based on data that we would not be able to see otherwise.
The implementation of these infographics can bring attention to the efficiency of the public transportation system in Seattle. It can also help determine where improvements can be made. Even more exciting is the prospect of applying the same techniques to every major population center in the world. A one percent improvement in efficiency can produce massive reductions in fuel expenditures and gas emissions when applied on a global scale. The technology exists for the repetition of this process to be a real possibility; it just requires that someone act on it. The application of this technology is an investment that can save time and resources for commuters. It can also open up other avenues of savings. The aspects of life that can be improved are endless. We just need to figure out how to put the world in a database.