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Visualization Environments

Show and Tell

Problems and Solutions

Pyramid Exercise


Visualisation in the Social Sciences Workshop

Show and Tell

Dr Scott Orford

Due to its highly graphical nature and its multimedia content, a consensus exists that the World Wide Web is an ideal medium for conducting visualization research, and for the dissemination of its findings. Many advanced forms of data visualization and graphical interaction can now be used, or at least demonstrated via the web. Therefore, as part of the AGOCG review on the State of the Art, a comprehensive list of websites that act as 'gateways' to social science visualisation research was compiled. Such gateways are important. Clicking one's way through the web can be very disorientating, commonly leading to dead-ends or irrelevant information. This 'show and tell' presentation will discuss the 'Top 10' websites in this list, illustrating some of the problems faced when viewing and interacting with visualization based websites. These include websites relating to specific visualization research projects, home pages of specific individuals who have undertaken visualization research and companies and government organisations developing visualization tools and technologies.

These websites also act as gateways to a vast amount of graphical and visualization software, and also teaching materials, which can often be downloaded free of charge. However, the range in quality of the software available at these sites is huge, with a significant amount produced to satisfy a specific research project. The problems of using such free software for research projects other than those it was designed for shall be discussed.

The graphic accompanying this presentation illustrates an attempt by researchers at the Geometry Center ( to visualise the Web in three dimensions using hyperbolic visualization techniques. The Web is far too large to see all at once, but 3D graphical representations can be built into sections of it (known as Weblets), and viewed in a 3D Web browser. Such browsers are becoming more common with the growing availability of VRML, and may influence the future use of the web for visualization research.

Contact Details

Dr Scott Orford,
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol,
University Road,
Bristol, BS8 1SS.
Tel: +44 (0)117 9289000 x3847

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