Visualization Blog

Ideas, Papers and Thoughts on the field of Visualization

Archive for April 2008

New tools/apis for visualization

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Lately, there have been some new API’s and tools for creating new visualizations as well as creating visualizations more easily. Some of these tools/api’s are not-so-new (but are new to me). Readers of this blog already know my inclination to Many Eyes to which I have referred to before.

Google Visualization API – Is an excellent Visualization API released by Google to allow the creation of new visualizations from multiple data streams. Users are encouraged to not only use pre-built visualizations but are also able to create and share their new visualizations for other users. Their Gadget gallery has some excellent examples.

Processing – Processing is an open source programming language that is increasingly being used for creating captivating visualizations that not only provide insight but as serving as art pieces. It has been used widely in exhibitions as well as talks. A visualization created by processing is called a Sketch. A collection of such sketches can be found at the gallery on the processing website. There is also another movement to share processing sketches at OpenProcessing which as described by the author “is a ‘flickr’ish place for processing community to share their sketches, comment on each other’s pieces, etc..” It is also being used as one of the tools to teach a new course at Harvard by Hanspeter Pfister. More details at

Flare – is a flash based version of the Prefuse toolkit (authored primarily by Jeff Heer and others), which is an excellent visualization toolkit. Prefuse has been used very widely in numerous projects and I anticipate the same for Flare. As per the website, Flare is already being used in Many Eyes. Checkout some demos on their website.

If you know of any more interesting API’s tools that allow the creation of new/cool visualizations, please feel free to post here in the comments.

Written by alark

April 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Visualization panels and symposiums

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I’m sorry I never got around to finishing my review of the IEEE Visualization conference. It was a superb conference though. I would definitely encourage more activities like the

Meet the scientists panel

and the excellent

Impact of Data Visualization panel

I definitely think we need to make more people aware of the impact of visualization. We need more endeavors like the World Visualization Day that Robert Kosara has proposed. Ben Shneiderman and others are holding a Visualization Day at the City College of New York. The huge visualization group has organized a Visualization in the World symposium. [If anyone at UNCC reads this blog, please arrange to have a video of the wonderful talks that some of us cannot attend, thanks 🙂 ]

The beauty of such efforts is that not only does it highlight the excellent accomplishments of our field, but also attracts the attention of domain experts who could use our findings. I think whats even more important is that through them new collaborations can be spawned that can bring about novel visualization challenges. The new avenues that such efforts may open are exciting to me.

If you know of any more such activities that are ongoing, please let me know.

Written by alark

April 25, 2008 at 9:20 am