The 2019 Maptive Scholarship Winner
University of the Incarnate Word
January 15, 2019
Maptive is excited to announce Ariana Garcia as the winner of the first annual Maptive Scholarship. Ariana is an undergraduate student at the University of the Incarnate Word. To submit their application for the Maptive Scholarship, undergraduate students had to complete an essay about creative data presentation. We are now accepting applications for our 2020 scholarship.
Ariana’s Winning Essay –
As a Biochemistry major, I understand the struggle of having massive amounts of raw data. Spending your time staring at a screen with a multitude of numbers all describing the rate of respiration in the common mealworm, for example, can leave you with quite the headache. Presenting and analyzing data was a task I often found myself doing during my first semester of college. Looking at large amounts of data can be overwhelming and while some may be blessed with the ability to look at numbers and interpret them at a moment’s notice; Most people, like myself, are more inclined to put data into simple and concise charts, maps, tables, or diagrams to better understand what they are looking at. Transferring data into a simple bar graph is often the easy solution to these headaches caused by data overload. It is websites and apps, such as Maptive, that allow businesses to integrate data easily into their work and present it to others.
Furthermore, being able to present data creatively is important for visual learners, like myself, because of the level of organization that a map or graph provides. Looking at raw data can be overwhelming and does not do a great job of telling what its purpose is. Whereas presenting your data creatively allows you to tell a story through the information that you collected. In addition, creative data presentation guides your audience on how to interpret the data. This is great if you are trying to prove a point because the creativity you use to present your data will cause others to be inclined to listen to you and will leave less room for misinterpretation. For example, if you are trying to get your data to show people which locations are best to plant a new business, looking at raw data of the number of people living in the area may not be enough to prove your point. But if you simplify this data through a map that pinpoints exactly which neighborhoods have your target audience, then you may be able to show a panel that your idea is worthy of pursuing. Presenting raw data will only result in one of those iconic headaches mentioned earlier and an unenthusiastic audience. Being able to look at the “big picture” can have a positive impact on your research or argument.
In the future, I believe that presenting data will be more interactive and personal to the researcher and their audience. As with anything, when you can present to your audience why your data should be important to them it makes the data more relatable and interesting. Therefore, I think that data presentation will be further tailored to the individual. I also think that the presentation of data will have the ability to be linked and shared across multiple platforms. For example, today, if businesses want to gain the attention of their audience, social media is the best way to do so. Although the ability to share data is already being utilized by many, it will be expanded so that businesses and consumers can have a better understanding of one another. Whether the data is presented to someone from the same country or a different one, the data will be easy to understand. In addition, presenting data creatively will not only be done through simple images but perhaps through animations. If you’re trying to get someone’s attention with your information, adding an extra element of surprise is sure to enhance your presentation. I think the future of creative data presentation will continue to be more digital and will include a lot of customizable aspects while also being relevant to the situation at hand.
As a student, there are several ways I may present data. However, my preferred method of presenting data is transferring data into a graph using programs such as Excel. Being a STEM (science, math, engineering, and mathematics) major, I often have to look at sets of data and be able to recognize trends in the data. Therefore, I find that by using a line graph, I am able to represent what I see in my data through a simple line that is easy to understand. Or if I am trying to compare a set of data to another, I use a bar graph that depicts which option is best. In my experience, presenting data in the form of a graph is the simplest and most efficient way of presenting results. The use of color, labels, and other customizable elements also make patterns in data easy to recognize. In addition, if I wanted to add more substance to the graph without making it too overwhelming, I may insert it into an infographic that easily describes what the audience should be seeing when they look at the data. Being a visual learner, I find that I include a lot of diagrams and graphs into my notes and presentations so that I can have a better understanding of the topic at hand. If I am trying to present something for a subject in math I may use a graphing tool or app such as Desmos, which enables me to visualize what a certain equation looks like.
Overall, presenting data in a creative way is always a great solution to understanding something complex. It will make your data less intimidating and provide your audience with a concise version of your findings. It is also a great visual representation of the data you collected. As time progresses, the creative presentation of data will continue to improve and become more efficient. We will be able to see data presentation become more personal and interactive. Allowing people from all different backgrounds to have access to this data. Lastly, as a student being able to present my data accurately through a graph alleviates the headache of looking at raw data. Being able to graph data or present it in some other creative way helps to analyze it. I am thankful for websites and apps, such as Maptive, which make it easier to recognize and present patterns in data.