Selecting graphics software to satisfy a particular presentational task can be a daunting business. The range of packages available, particularly on microcomputer systems, presents a potentially bewildering choice. The lack of any standard, de facto or otherwise, for presentation graphics means that it is not possible to decide easily whether or not a particular package will produce the sort of picture type that you require for your work. The package documentation has to be examined and, often, experts in the use of the package consulted to determine if a particular type of diagram or image can be produced. Again, a package may produce the type of picture that you require, but may not be capable of outputting it to the sort of device that you wish to use. In general, a great deal of time and effort may have to be expended before you can be satisfied that a particular package will fulfill your needs.
The purpose of this document is to help speed up the package selection process by distilling the characteristics of graphics presentation requirements into a matrix of facilities which can be interrogated to find a suitable candidate item ofxsoftware. The document also looks in some detail at the anatomy of various types of chart and provides examples of those charts in common use within the University for research or educational purposes. The reader can then make use of the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, by picking out the sort of chart or diagram of interest and then checking to see which of the software packages can be used to produce it.
We intend to update this document every Autumn. This first edidon tends to concentrate on micro-based facilities, future editions will increase its range and scope. Meanwhile we would appreciate any feedback on this first edition, and suggestions for its improvement. If you would like to add a package to the matrix, please let us know (there is contact information at the end of this document) - and we will send you a template to fill in.
This edition was developed with support from the Advisory Group on Computer Graphics (AGOCG), and the authors wish to acknowledge that support, along with that given by the EUCS Documentation Team. Special acknowledgements are also due Frances Provan and Gordon Smith for various matrix entries.
Copyright, Computing Services, University of Edinburgh 1993,1994
This document is made available subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the permission of AGOCG and the University of Edinburgh except and in so far as it may be copied for use within UK higher education for the normal business of the organisation. Where any part of this document is included in another document due acknowledgement is required.
The use of registered names, trademarks etc. in this material does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents