Useful Bells, Worthwhile Whistles - InformationWeek

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9/8/2005
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Useful Bells, Worthwhile Whistles

Texturally detailed, workstation-based graphics interfaces have been used for years by design engineers and scientists. But as Rick Whiting writes in one of our Editor's Picks this week, "...using computer graphics to model something tangible like airflow over an airplane wing is one thing. Adapting that technology to create interactive visual representations of less tangible data, such as terrorist activity or stock-trade patterns, has taken longer."

Texturally detailed, workstation-based graphics interfaces have been used for years by design engineers and scientists. But as Rick Whiting writes in one of our Editor's Picks this week, "...using computer graphics to model something tangible like airflow over an airplane wing is one thing. Adapting that technology to create interactive visual representations of less tangible data, such as terrorist activity or stock-trade patterns, has taken longer."But it's coming along. Our latest update on applied advanced visualization gives examples of complex graphics tools being put into action in both the public and private sectors. Even with the fast evolution of business intelligence and advanced reporting technologies, the corporate world has lagged in its used of advanced graphical analytics. That's changing.

You can get an idea of what I'm talking about from this oil well production analysis or from this security systems data. Another type of graphics called treemaps uses squares of different sizes and colors to visually represent data variables.

We've been bringing you information on and off this year about such tools. The ones from Tableau Software, a company that debuted this spring, yield a more intuitive understanding of business trends by graphically representing database query results.

Advanced visual analytics aren't only cool as all get out, they're also genuintely useful in a business sense. They'll see more widespread use as they migrate from the academic, engineering and scientific fields into the corporate, government and non-profit worlds.

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