Once a local government has uncovered new insights from visual analytics, the next step is to communicate those insights to others within the organization. Using charts, graphs or other visually impactful representations of data is important in this step because it’s engaging and gets the message across quickly.

Before implementing new technology, there are some steps you need to take. Not only do you need to have a solid grasp on your data types, you also need to understand your goals, needs, audience, and type of reports with data visualizations you want for decision making. Preparing your municipality officials for data visualization technology requires that you first:

  • Understand the data you’re trying to visualize, including its size and cardinality (the uniqueness of data values in a column).
  • Determine what you’re trying to visualize and what kind of information you want to communicate.
  • Know your audience and understand how it processes visual information.
  • Use a visual that conveys the information in the best and simplest form for your audience.

Once you’ve answered those initial questions about the type of data you have and the audience who’ll be consuming the information, you need to prepare for the amount of data you’ll be working with. Big data brings new challenges to visualization because large volumes, different varieties and varying velocities must be taken into account. Plus, data is often generated faster that it can be managed and analyzed.

There are factors you should consider, such as the cardinality of columns you’re trying to visualize. High cardinality means there’s a large percentage of unique values (e.g., bank account numbers, because each item should be unique). Low cardinality means a column of data contains a large percentage of repeat values (as might be seen in a “gender” column).