I'm planning to dive into SAS JMP (pronounced "jump") for the next few weeks and figure out the ins and outs of serious data visualization. Up until now, I've done most of my visualizations in Excel, which is quite useful, but rather limiting for more advanced visuallizations and large data sets. As a first step in this process I reviewed the SAS webinar, "Visualization of Data and Models," by John Sall, co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS. In this slightly geeky overview of the JMP visualization capabilities Sall walks the audience through a variety of different visualization scenarios: Napoleon's march on Russia; Hurricane patterns; crime stats; selecting the optimal percentage of material to create a tire tread; etc..
More over, he actually manipulates the data live as he is presenting. If you have ever tried to do live data manipulation during a presentation, you will appreciate how difficult this can be! However, Sall is trying to reenforce the idea that data is best presented and manpulated right in JMP without using a slide deck. This is a nice idea, if only I could figure out how to get my IT department to install JMP on our conference room computers... However, for we lesser folks with limited JMP access, the tool does offer Flash exports of "some" visualizations.
The following are some of my key takeaways and screen captures from the presentation.
Sall notes that you can get the same linear regression for wildly different sets of data and we humans are quite excellent at detecting visual patterns, so creating a graph is a handy way to quickly see what's going on with your data.