I know that Geordi's blind, but with his VISOR, he has exceptional vision with a range for a wide subspace spectrum. How does this compare with Data's android vision: Does Data have a comparable vision of the spectrum to Geordi, or is he limited to standard visible light like humans?

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    In Generations, Geordi sees a concealed door that data doesn't. Clearly the range of his vision is beyond that of Data's.
    – Valorum
    Apr 9, 2014 at 8:18
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    Interesting question... but I'd even add Seven of Nine as well. Or, to expand even a bit more... How about Odo? Could he create eyes that are even better?
    – Mario
    Apr 9, 2014 at 8:26
  • @Mario - good food for thought. I thought to compare the pair because of their regular contact with one another and who would be the best to send into an away mission if vision was important. Apr 9, 2014 at 8:28
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    In TNG, Data shows that he's able to measure an exact distance (the height of a pit in front of him) with very high precision: either Tasha or Riker (I can't remember) say "it must be 10 meters deep" and then Data says "11.43 meters to be exact". I don't think this is something Geordi can do. Apr 9, 2014 at 13:56
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    @Ward - Gorilla Vs Shark only applies when there's no objective standpoint. In this case, where both characters are found in the same fictional universe, it's perfectly acceptable to ask these sorts of questions (Gorilla Vs Gorilla).
    – Valorum
    Nov 27, 2014 at 17:37

5 Answers 5


Think this really depends on what you're "looking for" (pun intended).

There are examples where Geordi has the clear advantage (as mentioned by Richard: Generations being one example with the hidden door).

However, it's never really explained how Data sees things (as far as you could consider his perception seeing).

Geordi's vision is clearly augmented and he's unable to see "normally" (at least if you skip the latest movie adaptions, where he's got in-eye implants).

In Data's case I'd assume his vision is artificially limited (unless specifically modified for plot reasons), simply to make him more human.

So if you're looking for things invisible to the human eye, I'd guess Geordi has the advantage.

If you're talking about normal things perceivable by the human eye, Data seems to have the advantage (at least when considering "Visor Geordi").

  • Great answer as well. I sort of had both in mind and you addressed it perfectly! Apr 9, 2014 at 8:27
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    I can't find the source but I'm sure there's a line somewhere where Data says something along the lines "but that would require more than human senses to which I normally limit myself". This implies that he's capable of seeing/hearing/doing more than he uses in his attempt to become more human.
    – Liath
    Apr 9, 2014 at 13:39
  • "Geordi's vision is clearly augmented" But...did he ever ask for this?
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:00
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    I believe in encounter at farpoint, Data says a line along the lines of "I cannot see as well as Geordi, but the walls of this passage appear normal", I think it was when they were aboard the star jelly. I'd need to rewatch the episode to be sure.
    – Compro01
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:27
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    Also in Season 1, Episode 18 (Home Soil) there is the following line: DATA: Geordi, I need some visual assistance. which indicates that Geordi has superior vision.
    – ssell
    Jun 16, 2014 at 4:46

Geordi's vision is better

Per Compro01's comment about "Encounter at Farpoint", Data himself indicates that he considers his own visual abilities to be inferior to that afforded by Geordi's VISOR (which can apparently register electromagnetic signals across the entire EM spectrum between 1 Hz and 100,000 THz)

It would seem that Riker also concurs.

RIKER: Tasha, you and the Counsellor. And, Geordi, I want your eyes down there. (to Data) You and I will start with topside. (As the three explore underground)

RIKER: Have you noticed anything unusual?

DATA: I can't see as well as Geordi, sir, but so far the material seems rather very ordinary.

Although Data does appear to have unnaturally good visual acuity (including depth measuring, the ability to "see" people's respiration rates and patterns, etc) there's no real indication that he can see any better than the average human.

And in the original script for Star Trek : First Contact we learn that although Data's vision is noticeably better than a normal human's (and that he can also see beyond the ultra-violet and infra-red) this certainly doesn't compare with Geordi's range.

We follow his hand as it comes up and touches his FACE, which is also FLESH. The gold color is gone, his hair is tousled and natural-looking. Even his eyes are real now -- blue. He touches his face tentatively, his expression confused... but intrigued.

As he talks, we can see that he's becoming seduced by his own newfound senses.

DATA : My visual acuity has been reduced by seventy-eight percent... and I can no longer perceive light beyond the ultraviolet or the infrared... (beat) But I can see


To add further evidence to support the contention that Geordi's vision is better than Data's, in the episode Hide and Q, both Geordi and data are looking for Worf and Geordi is describing the scene:

RIKER: Geordi, can you see Worf?

LAFORGE: I'd see the freckles on his nose if he had them, sir. He's at the third ridge.

DATA: The third ridge?

LAFORGE: Moving well too. Oh, oh. Good, he sees them.

(Source) emphasis mine

The fact that Data is asking Geordi about the situation, as emphasised, suggests Geordi's distance vision is also superior to Data's.

  • Never caught this answer of yours for some reason. Great supporting excerpt from TNG! +1
    – Praxis
    Jul 17, 2015 at 9:39

I have some experience working with industrial assembly line cameras; those cameras can make amazing calculations on very little visible data. Similarly, I think that Data's better-than-human vision does not come from better recording equipment (eyes), but better processing.

The human brain is adept at picking out patterns and differences; when Geordi found the hidden door (as mentioned by Richard), his human brain was able to quickly isolate and process the relevant visual information. Data, on the other hand, has an advanced information processor; just like industrial cameras, Data may not be great at spotting tiny details on the first pass, but he can add post-processing filters and do side-by-side comparisons that no human could ever handle. That is how he can accurately measure distances or sizes with only his eyes; he could measure a heartbeat by comparing the difference in pixels between frames in a heavily post-processed video of someone's wrist.

Thus, I believe that while Geordi may have a much wider vision spectrum, Data would easily be the fastest at a "spot the differences" puzzle.

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    Which he did in one episode (sorta), when he identified Juliana Tainer
    – Izkata
    Jul 22, 2014 at 0:21

While it isn't necessarily a canonical source, the ST:TNG video game for the SNES, Genesis, and Game Gear provides an idea of how well Geordi and Data see in the dark. In the game, Geordi sees better than Data in the dark, and both of them see better than the other crew members - which sounds like it meshes pretty well with what others have mentioned from the series.

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