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Painting pictures by the numbers

This Detroit Free Press graph is grim, but does it paint the whole picture?

Tables. Pie charts. Histograms. Line graphs. Depicting data is our bread and butter, but we realize that it’s Greek to most people. That’s  why D-ACIS is using mapping technologies to help you visualize what numbers really mean. It’s so true: A picture really is worth a thousand words.

A perfect example came across my desk this week. For the past 2.5 years, we’ve all be listening to the media feed us the latest unemployment rates. But it takes this time-lapse map to really paint the picture for you. Click on this link to watch the effects of the national recession sweep across the nation – it’s stunning. 

While the picture isn’t pretty, you can clearly see how Michigan led the nation in unemployment and how no county in the state has been immune.  You will also see how the recession that Michigan has suffered since 2001 began to spread to most of the country. 

As we get ready to launch a host of products coming out of our Detroit Parcel Survey project, we will be working with government, businesses, community development groups and neighborhood residents to help them understand how forces like the recession, unemployment and the foreclosure crisis have impacted our neighborhoods. 

Numbers are useless unless they help us understand who we are. That’s one of the major goals of D-ACIS. Get the picture?