Chris Kosty, CPA, CIDA – Manager ADAPT (Automation & Data Analytic Process Team)
As I watched the election coverage on TV, I found myself focused not on the opinions of political pundits, but rather on what was going on behind the scenes to derive the content. Whether you lean left or right, didn’t vote, or wrote in Kanye West for president, one thing was certainly on center stage this Election Day: data.
You may have seen surveys of voters, red and blue counties, and races being “called” with a 1% vote tally. But as a data analyst, what I saw was data collection and analysis, heat mapping, and predictive modeling. Although some of those concepts may be complex in nature, they were delivered in a way that is palatable to the masses: data visualization.
Data visualization was represented in large scale, from using color-coded seats to monitor the majority in House and Senate races, to something as basic as a checkmark next to candidates’ names to indicate their victory. What we see on TV was delivered seamlessly; however, buried beneath the surface is a network of data analysts with complex algorithms driving the featured content. The results of those analysis are packaged into seemingly basic visuals, which are strategically designed and utilized to convey results of data analysis for ease of interpretation.
Communication of results can be just as important as, if not more than, the analysis itself. What good is an analytic if nobody can understand and interpret the results? That concept was never on display more so than it was during the election coverage. Just think, using data visualization, TV networks were able to take well over 100,000,000 data points (votes) and turn it into a must-see prime-time television filled with hours of interactive real-time analysis. It was the Super Bowl of data analytics! Okay, maybe that’s just my opinion (although I do know some folks who may agree). Even as we await the results of the presidential election, I can with certainty declare a victory for data analytics.
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