Dataviz : “to see and to show”

Within the framework of its activities Geomatys is structured along three axes :

1. The implementation and operation of Geospatial Datalakes (based on Cloud infrastructure and exploiting massive volumes of data)

2. (Geo)Datascience

3. Data visualization including 3D and augmented reality

This article presents feedback on the implementation of on-the-fly processing on a DataLake for the needs of a space agency.

The volume of raw data and the results of their analysis available for human decision making is a challenge for visualization tools. So if the current volume of data allows the emergence of Digital Twins, for Dataviz it can be a double-edged sword:

  • Aggregating data in order to produce an indicator for decision support or a synthetic dashboard is a pragmatic solution, but it has the drawback of masking the complexity of the source data.
  • Giving access to visualize the full complexity of the dataset is transparent but difficult for the operator to analyze or interpret.

In other words, and to paraphrase French poet and revolutionary René Char: for Dataviz tools leading to decision-making, “the essential is always threatened by the insignificant”. It is this paradox that Geomatys seeks to resolve with our EXAMIND Playground environment for exploring and visualizing data. Here, we give a review based on feedback from end-users.

EXAMIND Playground

Built on the capacities of our software base to disseminate large volumes of geospatial data, streaming as necessary, EXAMIND Playground presents a set of cartographic visualization modules that can be mobilized and configured as needed. It is based on a 4D geographic visualization engine (3D plus the temporal dimension) on which data exploration tools are grafted.

Thus, starting from a contextual overview adapted to their needs, the user is be able to focus and zoom on specific areas and observe temporal dynamics when possible (see below). The user is also able to drill down on the data and examine the evolution of multiple variables along a trajectory or at a given geographic location.

3D-4D visualization of variables along a trajectory

The visualization tool interacts with the data server, so that if the use case requires it, the user can add objects to the cartographic environment and simulate their impacts. Take for example the following simulation of the impact of a linear hedge on movement of pink flamingos.

CamGIS Platform

Finally, since geographical data can enrich our perception of the real world, we have designed EXAMIND Playground with the capabiility to be used with augmented reality headsets in order to propose to the user direct visualization of their enriched universe.

EXAMIND Playground offers a whole range of cartographic visualization tools that can be adapted to explore the richness of the data needed for any use case. To quote another artist, Frida Kahlo, the only risk to having such in-depth visibility of your data is being ” surprised to find a lion in a wardrobe where you were sure [only] to find shirts”.

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