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Review of Visualisation Systems

1.1 Introduction

One of the responsibilities of the UK Advisory Group on Computer Graphics (AGOCG) is to stimulate and support the effective use of computer-based visualization.

AGOCG therefore requested DRAL Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Universities of Leeds and Manchester and NERC Computing Services (Keyworth) to conduct a review of visualization software, to help potential and actual users make effective choices.

AGOCG conducted a previous evaluation of visualization software [15] and the Stichting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam have also produced an evaluation report [10]. At that time, AVS was already becoming available on many workstations, IRIS Explorer and IBM Data Explorer were quite new, Khoros was available free but was restricted to handling images, and apE was undergoing a difficult transition.

One consequence of that evaluation was that AVS was made available to universities and other HEI's by CHEST on favourable site terms.

Why revisit this work after what is a comparatively short time? There are several reasons:

The purpose of the work is therefore to review the current market for visualization software as it exists in the UK and to provide information to the UK Academic community for its visualization needs. There are many potential systems and the review had to narrow the field.

The review does not include basic plotting systems. These are already understood in the community. Thus any system under review had to at least treat 3D data adequately. Therefore there had to be:

Review of Visualisation Systems
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