Visualisation is the trendy way to represent data these days, but sight is not our only sense. Via Dave Giles I see that some researchers are exploring sonification as a way to represent information. They claim that
…with complex data series one can often hear patterns or persistent pitches that would be difficult to show visually. Musical pitches are periodic components of sound and repetition over time can be readily discerned by the listener.
Giles has previously covered the topic and it’s well worth having a look at the series he examines in that post. I know I’ve spent far too much time staring blankly at a volatile time series plot before attempting various transformations just so that my eyes can make sense of it. If there is a better way that uses other senses to quickly discern patterns in the data then I’m all for it!
For a more populist example, here’s a cellist playing a time series of temperature readings: A song of our warming planet