What's a Megascope?
In W.E.B. Du Bois's unpublished short story "The Princess Steel", a brilliant sociologist describes a device called a Megascope: a tool he has created to study the unseen forces that guide world events. A wall of books containing "everyday facts" of human life is connected to a giant crystal ball where the data is organized in various "curves". Then, using a trumpet-like Megascope, the scientist is able to see beyond the visible and into an "Over World" where entities like economics, geography, and hubris invisibly control the real world.
Though written more than 100 years ago, this story describes a way of using data that is right at home in the 21st century. In fact, the Megascope has leapt out of the realm of speculative fiction and into our hands in the form of modern data analytics.
Our approach mirrors that of the professor in the story. We start by gathering data sources and applying data governance principals to ensure the quality and stewardship of the information. Then we organize multiple data sources into a model that connects them. On the way we make transformations that assist with the connections and open up new analytic possibilities. Using our data model, we apply code to create new variables, tables, and visualizations. All of these steps allow the end user to view and interact with the data in a way that reveals new insights...something like a Megascope.
If you are interested in seeing how this process might work for you, contact us!