Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Legal issues with Data Visualization: AT&T and Verizon "Map For That"

CmdrTaco of Slashdot has a recent entry on AT&T sues Verizon over "Map For That" Advertising. CmdrTaco has a good point in that this story is about a lawsuit over data visualization. Sure there has been litigation in the past with false advertising. Yet this lawsuit is pointing to a topic that Operations Research practitioners take a great interest.

Data visualization is often seen as a great tool for comparison. I remember first seeing this TV ad from Verizon and thinking how amazed the difference in coverage between the two carriers. Data visualization can have a great impact on the recipients of the information. Often times the contrasts can be very startling. In fact so startling to AT&T that they are willing to sue over the data visualization chart by Verizon.

If there is anything to learn from this is that Data Visualization might be more important than we take for granted in Operations Research. As practitioners we often are trying to determine ways to improve our soft skills to help implement our ideas to management. Data Visualization can be a great tool in our tool bag to help deliver important results to the decision makers. Perhaps software applications could be developed to transfer output results of an optimization program to a data visualization chart. I am starting to get more interested in Data Visualization the more I think about it.

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