Big Data and Interactive 3D Data Visualization Create Enhanced Insight

We at AVS are huge fans of Smart Data Collective, but when we saw this piece on data visualization we shuddered (and chuckled) at the following statement:

Avoid 3D At All Costs 

Three-dimensional charts can add unnecessary confusion when it comes to data. The perspective makes it seem that information marked by the back axis is less important than that in the foreground, which is rarely the case. It’s best to simply avoid these types of charts rather than have to worry about misunderstandings.”

Clearly, someone isn’t familiar with the benefits of 3D for Big Data—or hasn’t been using the right tools to capture enough data and be able to creatively express it.

In this example created with the OpenViz API from AVS, an end user is viewing 50 million customer and transaction data points in a 3D scatter plot:


Using a click and drag motion, the user selects a subset of data to explore.  Other views of the selected data aren’t shown here:


Upon releasing the mouse pointer, the selected area changes color to indicate the subset:


Then, using the OpenViz “tilt interactor”, the end user rotates the 3D scatter plot to reveal an interesting cluster pattern that would be totally invisible using any 2D technique.  See the progression of moves below:

Move 1:


Move 2:


Move 3:


Move 4:


Move 5:


There are many data points and micro-clusters that become visible using 3D and interactive rotation in this simple example and underscore the value of 3D in Big Data exploration and analytics—when used properly.

OpenViz was designed to take massive quantities of data and bring them to life using hundreds of different data visualization and data management techniques that are included in its API.  For more information and a demo of this example, contact AVS.