Visualization Blog

Ideas, Papers and Thoughts on the field of Visualization

Archive for the ‘scientific visualization’ Category

Visualizing Environmental Factors

leave a comment »

In this post, I focus on the use of visualization in conveying information regarding the environment, pollution, population effects on the planet and similar issues. The visualizations are particularly powerful and make us realize how much of an impact we have on the world.

  • Breathing Earth is a wonderful visualization that shows a visual representation of the amount of CO2 that is being produced every second. Additionally, based on the statistics there is a neat visual representation of number of births and deaths per second. This image is just a snapshot of the ever evolving visualization. Check out the really eye-opening visualization at



  • A research paper by Wood et al. discusses a web-based solution to visualize environmental data. The snapshot below shows a histogram View of Ozone from 3 sites in London – Jason Wood, Ken Brodlie and Helen Wright, Visualization over the World Wide Web and its application to environmental data, Proceedings of IEEE Visualization 1996 Conference, edited by R.Yagel and G.M. Nielson, pp 81–86, ACM Press. ISBN 0-89791-864-9. pic8
  • National Public Radio (NPR) had a very informative piece on Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid – Here are some screenshots from the story. I wonder if they could have picked better visualizations to show the ‘sources of power’.npr_coal

It is a bit hard to visualize the differences in power generating capabilities of various states since the saturation is mapped to a value. Considering there are only a few different values, using different colors may have been a good idea. Any other thoughts on what they could have used to represent this data more effectively?

Here’s another visual representation of the wind energy sources. npr_wind

What seemed most interesting to me is how much the US is dependent on coal power as compared to wind. I hope with the new administration’s initiatives for green energy, we will see a change in the near future.

  • Visualizing rainfall in Australia –  You can interact with the website to pick different visualizations. They seem to be pre-generated though. Here is a screenshot of one of the visualizations australia_rainfall
  • is a website dedicated to drawing attention the problem of climate change through the use of visualizations and infographics. Shown here is the now (in)famous ’embers’ graph that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did NOT include in their report on climate change, since some scientists thought that the visualization “was too unnerving.” Here is the actual figure and its discussion on NYTimes dotEarth blog –


  • Climate Central – a non-profit organization has some excellent resources that are meant for media and for raising public awareness about the topic of climate change. You can some excellent video as In their own words

Climate Central is an accessible one-stop source for timely, relevant, high-quality climate information through a variety of channels, targeting the media and leaders in business, government, and religion.

  • WaterLIFE is a wonderfully informative website that provides information about water. It contains videos, photographs and visualizations that draw your attention to the various factors affecting water. Its a really amazing site and the snapshot below does not do it justice. Anyway, check it out at Here’s a snapshot from their website water_website

Have you seen any other visualization/website that has been used to communicate, inform, educate people about the issues surrounding environmental factors? If so, please feel free to add them in the comments section.


Eurovis 2009 Papers

leave a comment »

The Eurovis 2009 conference concluded a few days ago in Berlin. Here are some of the papers that I found interesting. Links for all the papers are not available yet, but I shall update the post as and when I find them. Here is the whole list of accepted eurovis 2009 papers.

The keynote talk was given by Pat Hanrahan who is known to give very insightful and thought provoking keynote and capstone talks. This keynote talk was titled Systems of Thought. You can also take a look at his slides from other talks on this website

This year at the conference, they awarded 3 best paper awards. Congratulations to the authors of the papers! These are the ‘best paper award winners’:

Visualisation of Sensor Data from Animal Movement
Edward Grundy, Mark W. Jones, Robert S. Laramee, Rory P. Wilson and Emily L.C. Shepard – In this paper they present a unique way of visualization data obtained from sensors attached to animals as they move around the world. Animals such as the cormorant, sea turtles and such were tagged with tri axial accelerometers and tracked through time.grundy

On Visualization and Reconstruction from Non-Uniform Point Sets using B-Splines
Erald Vuçini, Torsten Möller and M. Eduard Gröller vucini

Collaborative Brushing and Linking for Co-located Visual Analytics of Document Collections
Petra Isenberg and Danyel Fisher – In this paper they discuss a collaborative interface to interact with a collection of documents. The collaborative interface is called Cambiera and is a table top analytics tool. You can also see a video of users interacting with Cambiera on Youtube. isenberg

Here are some of the other papers that I thought were very interesting and hope to go through them in more detail (as they become available) :

Illuminated 3D Scatterplots
Harald Sanftmann, Daniel Weiskopf – In this paper, the authors tackled an important and challenging problem of visualizing 3D scatterplots. 2D scatterplots are well known to convey data effectively. The use of illumination to better visualize the 3D nature of the data was a very elegant solution and seems to work quite well. scatterplots

Instant Volume Visualization using Maximum Intensity Difference Accumulation
Stefan Bruckner and M. Eduard Gröller – This paper proposes a novel way to integrate along the ray in the volume rendering process. The idea is very unique and provides excellent results. Since techniques such as MIP, DVR are part of every volume rendering course, seeing such novel and interesting techniques is always exciting. mida

Semi-Automatic Time-Series Transfer Functions via Temporal Clustering and Sequencing
Jonathan Woodring, Han-Wei Shen – Time-varying data visualization is always challenging due to the large amounts of data that needs to be visualized. The authors propose a clustering and sequencing based technique to generate ‘semi-automatic’ transfer functions for the data. semi_tf

A Directional Occlusion Shading Model for Interactive Direct Volume Rendering
Mathias Schott, Vincent Pegoraro, Charles Hansen, Kévin Boulanger, Kadi Bouatouch – I enjoyed reading this paper a lot since people rarely seem to talk about anything other than ambient occlusion these days. This paper presents an elegant and unique way to provide occlusion shading with reasonable frame rates. Looking forward to implementing this soon. directional_occlusion

Visualization of Vessel Movements
Niels Willems, Huub van de Wetering, Jarke J. van Wijk – This paper provides a very beautiful solution to the problem of visualizing vessels coming in and out of a port. I enjoy reading J. J. van Wijk’s papers and this and the next one are not any different. movementdensitysmall

Force-Directed Edge Bundling for Graph Visualization
Danny Holten, Jarke J. van Wijk – The authors follow up on the excellent paper from IEEE Vis 2005 on ‘Hierarchical Edge Bundles: Visualization of Adjacency Relations in Hierarchical Data‘ (which was mentioned in one of my previous posts on Seminal infovis papers), with another great paper. This paper has already received a lot of attention here, here and here. Here is a screenshot showing migration patters in the united states. force_bundles

Context-Aware Volume Modeling of Skeletal Muscles
Zhicheng Yan, Wei Chen, Aidong Lu, David Ebert

Map Displays for the Analysis of Scalar Data on Cerebral Aneurysm Surfaces
Mathias Neugebauer, Rocco Gasteiger, Oliver Beuing, Volker Diehl, Martin Skalej, Bernhard Preim

Visual Analysis of Brain Activity from fMRI Data
Firdaus Janoos, Boonth Nouanesengsy, Raghu Machiraju, Han Wei Shen, Steffen Sammet, Michael Knopp, István Á. Mórocz