How are Maps like Analytical Tools — ATOMs #13-6

Maps are visual depictions of information.

A map provides three things:
1. Quantitative metrics — how many miles between point A and B?
2. Qualitative description — what are the landmarks? Which direction is the turn?

These two are obvious. What’s the third characteristic?

Picture = 1,000 x words
Maps transform data into pictures and pictures into data.

3. Connection.

Connection–analogy–affiliation–relationship–a map provides a way to connect the dots between the quantitative and the qualitative.

So whether you prefer words (like street signs), numbers (miles), or pictures (landmarks), a map has the data you need in the language you speak.

That’s what ATOMs do–give you the data you need in the language you speak. They transform uncertainty into decisions.  ATOMs give risk an address, and provide you a map to circumnavigate it.

There’s a “map” for every journey. Where are you going?


Previous: 3 Places You Can Use a Map

Where Do We Go From Here

How do we find our way then, when we are exploring the unknown, blazing a trail into uncharted territory? How do we apply elementary statistical principles to transform uncertainty into decisive action? What is to prevent us from making a preposterous application of ATOMs when we deal with very complex situations, those in which our intuition fails?

These questions are not much different from those faced by Chuck Yeager before he ever broke the sound barrier or Neil Armstrong as he took that first step on the moon. Neither of these men, nor anyone around them–with hundreds or thousands of highly educated, very scientific people on these teams–knew what to expect. Or did they…?

ATOMs is a monthly column that introduces analytical tools of mathematics and statistics and illustrates their application. To read more about ATOMs, you can read Where Do We Go From Here, or view the online workbook here.

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