Exploring the Utility of Physical Visualization Construction

Physical visualizations are representations in which data is mapped to physical form, rather than the pixels or ink of traditional visualizations [6]. Creating such representations using tangible tiles (i.e. constructive physical visualization) is an accessible paradigm for visualization novices to construct representations [5]. Is this approach worth the greater time investment it requires over more automated tools? The purpose of this project is to explore the utility of the process of constructing of physical visualizations. From this work, we expect to gain knowledge of i) which parts of the construction process are useful, ii) in what way they are useful, and iii) where and iv) for what type of user they might be useful. From this, we will identify design requirements for new tools to support constructive visualization. If the construction process itself has value, then we should consider designing digital and tangible-digital tools that allow visualizations to be created in a constructive manner, rather than strictly through automated functions.

Faculty Supervisor:

Anthony Tang


Jennifer Payne



Computer science



University of Calgary


Globalink Research Award

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