How NASA visualizes large datasets
Once we have the data set, then we bring two things to bear. I'm a scientist by training — I have a doctorate in physics and I did research for about a decade — but everyone in my group has a level of understanding what the point is of all these animations. We know what we're doing, and what we're trying to bring out. Then, the team is amazing — working together, they play off of each other and every person in the team has a separate project they're working on. They're always bouncing ideas off of each other. As a result, over the last 10 or 20 years, we've gotten very good at figuring out what we can do. We have tools we can bring out at the drop of a hat to do certain kinds of visualizations. But we're always thinking about the next thing, and what we can’t do yet.
People miss that very first part a lot of the time: "Once we have the data set..." No data means nothing to show.