|InfoVis.net>Magazine>message nº 54||Published 2001-08-20|
|También disponible en Español|
The digital magazine of InfoVis.net
There aren't many companies commercialising Information Visualisation technology, especially in Europe. Among them you can find innovative companies like Aidministrator (we will speak about them in a forthcoming issue), or Macrofocus that has an interesting Visualisation Tool
Macrofocus Gmbh, founded the year 2000 by Dominique Brodbeck and Luc Girardin develops and commercialises solutions and software tools for decision making and complex data set visualisation. Their web is very brief but also very clear and orbits around City'O'Scope, their technology demonstrator. You can download it for free (4.25 Mb) or you can ask for a CD-ROM
City'O'Scope is a system that allows you to interactively visualise the data gathered during the year 2000 by the Swiss Economic Research Group of UBS about the conditions of living, the earnings and the prices of 58 cities world-wide. The report, in traditional format can be found at the end of the page devoted to this purpose.
Among the data gathered you can find, for instance, the time spent going to the workplace, the number of hours worked per year, the gross income of different working categories or the working time needed to pay a determined consumer good.
Macrofocus has incorporated all these data in their visualisation system. The City'O'Scope window is divided in 3 main zones (see Figure 1):
The selection of a city in one chart is reflected immediately in the others. This way the system allows you to find cities that fit a complex series of requisites, just by moving the sliders corresponding to the appropriate parameters and seeing what cities are not faded out.
Although parallel coordinates were proposed by Alfred Inselberg in 1981, distortable maps are already known, and so do similarity charts, Macrofocus combines the three in an innovative, elegant and informative way, making selection and understanding easier.
Altogether, a powerful and innovative tool, although the use of parallel coordinates, very useful in an expert's hand, need some training to extract the most of them.
It's very commendable to download the demo and play with it after reading the instructions that appear clicking on the question marks (?) on the upper right corner of each area.
* In order to know more about parallel coordinates you can visit the page on the topic prepared by Christopher Jones.
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