Visualizing data is like photography. Instead of starting with a blank canvas, you manipulate the lens used to present the data from a certain angle.
A facinating post from Facebook engineer Paul Butler in geographically visualising friendship connections on Facebook. The lovely vis was created with the open source stats package R
Read more(be sure to checkout the high res rendering) : http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/visualizing-friendships/469716398919