I went to a talk titled “Effective Flow Visualization” by Colin Ware at NOAA last Friday. Dr. Ware works on issues of scientific visualization from an angle that was new to me: he studies human perception of visualizations. An interesting aspect of this study is that he tries to objectively measure the effectiveness of a given visualization. To do these tests he has people try to do common tasks with a visualization, like predict a dropped particle’s path in a flow visualization, and compares their answers to the computed answer. I haven’t read his book Information Visualization: Perception for Design, but his talk has motivated me to read it.

Information Visualization, Second Edition: Perception for Design

Dr. Ware is the Director of the Data Visualization Research Lab part of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire.