Model of Visualization

Introduction

A visualization system is not just a system to create an image of the data but can be used to manipulate the data to create different types of images. A model of a visualization system should link the system with the model of scientific investigation discussed above. Visualization can help form the link between hypothesis and experiment and between insight and revised hypothesis.

The developed model consists of a set of abstract modules. It is a controlled dual dataflow system. A generic basic module is shown below:

The Control is perfomed by the User. The internal data is the data the module works on and transforms.

Data Types

The different data types describe the dataflow between the different modules. The data types are as follows:

Module Types

There are several different module types. Each different type can have multiple sub-types. A visualization system should allow for the user to customize existing modules and to construct new modules.

User Module: The user observes the system output and controls the system.

User Interface Module: this maps between the user's world and the internals of the visualization system.

Base Graphics System takes geometry and other related information and transforms it into picture data for the User Interface module. Examples are graphics standards such as PHIGS, PEX, GL, OpenGL, etc.

A Visualization Technique module takes internal data derived from the external model (simulation or computation) and transforms it into a form suitable for the Base Graphics System module. Here is more information on Visualization Techniques.

Data Manipulation modules perform transformations on the internal data. For examples of these data transformations, click here.

Data Access modules allow data to be stored and/or retrieved, perhaps in a format specific to the visualization system.

A Data Import module imports data from an external source. Different Data Import modules will import different types of data.

A Data Export module exports data, as with the importing of data, different modules will export different types of data. A Command Interpreter translates command data into control data for other modules in the visualization system.

A Command Sequencer module allows for sequence of command data, e.g., for an animation.


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Last modified on April 05, 1999, G. Scott Owen, owen@siggraph.org