2.1 Turnkey systems
Turnkey visualization systems provide a fixed set of visualization
techniques to the investigator in an efficient way.
The investigator does not have the freedom to alter the techniques
provided, but does have the advantages associated with the software
coming from one source. Since everything is under their control, the
supplier has the opportunity to produce a package which is efficient
and responds to the needs of particular applications.
If a particular problem falls within the scope of one of these
systems, this can be a good solution. In this section, we present
The visualization software available on low cost hardware - PC's and
Macintoshes - is generally distinct from the software available on
workstations, with the occasional rare exeception.
Software available on low cost hardware
- Cricket Graph - for problems which can be solved by graphs and bar charts, Cricket Graph is one solution and is available on PC's with DOS or Microsoft Windows 3 and Apple Macintoshes. It is far from being the only solution, but has been selected as the result of a PC graphics evaluation on behalf of the UK academic community, is the subject of a CHEST deal and tutorial workbooks have been produced with the UK academic community in mind.
- Spyglass - there are two main visualization programs in
the Spyglass suite - Transform and Dicer. Transform can solve problems
where the data is defined in 2D on a regular grid. There is a variety
of plots for this purpose. It can also handle problems where the data
values vary with time. Dicer can handle data, where there is a single
scalar at each sample point defined in 3D space. It uses multiple
slices to display such data and can also use transparency. Colour is
needed to make best use of these programs. Both programs are available
on Apple Macintoshes (and also Unix workstations).
There are many packages on PC's which provide technical graphics. An evaluation was carried out in the UK in 1993 and those included in the evaluation were able to handle 3D plots, surfaces and contours - handling scalar data depending on two other variables. Details of the evaluation and a summary of the packages are covered in [AGOCG 22].
Systems available on workstations
- Uniras interactive programs - provide a wide range of
techniques for 1 or 2 independent variables and for data defined over
a surface. Also data defined in 3D space can be displayed using a
cut-away blocks method. The Uniras interactives are available as part
of a CHEST deal and are available on a wide range of systems including
both workstations and mainframes.
- Data Visualizer - provides a range of methods for
visualizing unstructured vector data defined in 3D and is therefore
suitable for a variety of flow problems. The software is available on
the more powerful Unix workstations, with 24 bit colour, and does take
advantage of 3D capabilities in the workstation hardware where
present. Although primarily a turnkey system, the software does allow
the investigator to specify special data input formats.
- Spyglass - the suite was described earlier. Transform is
available on Unix workstations.
Availability in the U.K.:
Spyglass is available from:
Aerobel Defence Technology
PO Box 90D
356 West Barnes Lane
Surrey KT3 6JC
Tel: 081336 1733
Fax: 081 942 8909
and also from:
Adept Scientific Micro Systems Ltd
6 Business Centre West
Herts SG6 2HB
Tel: 0462 480055
Fax: 0462 480213
Uniras software is available from
but in the UK academic community,
the CHEST site contact should
be consulted (see the section on CHEST).
Data Visualizer is available from:
Wavefront Technologies Ltd
Bucks HP12 3PR
Tel: 0494 441273
Virtual Environments Visualisation