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Review of Visualization in the Social Sciences: Main Report
Visualizing the Web
One of the aims of the web search was to create an inventory of websites that act as `gateways' to social science visualization research. Such gateways are important. Clicking one's way through the Web can be very disorientating, commonly leading to dead-ends or irrelevant information. The Web is so interconnected and huge that it is difficult to establish a mental model of its structure. Flat one-dimensional history lists are a common navigational aid, providing a way to think about many documents at once, but they offer no help in understanding the connections between them. The answer may be visualising the Web in three dimensions. The Web is far too large to see all at once, but 3D graphical representations can be built of sections of it (known as Weblets), and viewed in a 3D Web browser (Figure 13). Such browsers are becoming widespread with the recent release of VRML. Just as traditional browsers allow hypertext links to be followed, VRML provides a way to attach 3D link anchors to 3D data files.
Although the Web is non-linear, we can start at any document and impose a tree structure. The problem is that the tree structure can become cluttered very quickly. The solution may be to use hyperbolic visualization. Hyperbolic visualization uses non-Euclidean geometry as a convenient way to visualize exponentially growing trees (Figure 14). This representation of hyperbolic space is known as the projective or Klein model. There has been considerable work at the Geometry Center  on visualizing hyperbolic geometry, which provides an elegant and powerful mathematical framework for display and navigation.
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents