Nightingale
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Nightingale

How Data Visualization in VR Can Revolutionize Science

Lessons learned from classifying unknown X-ray sources in the cosmos

Screenshot from the Virtual Data Cosmos
Visualizing data clusters in the Virtual Data Cosmos

Understanding the nature of the unknown

Sky map of the universe at optical wavelength as seen from Earth with positions of unknown X-ray sources laid over.
An optical sky map of the universe (Source: ESA) adapted to show the positions of unknown X-ray sources

The limitations of traditional science viz

Scatterplot of X-ray properties for cosmic sources. Because the data points overlap different classes cannot be distinguished
Typical scatterplots used in astronomy to explore data set dimensions. Classification types (e.g.: stars, galaxies, etc.) are coded by color and symbol.

Designing the Virtual Data Cosmos

Visualizing the data directly

A sketch illustrating two immersive moments in VR: holding the data in your hands versus diving into the data.
A sketch illustrating two immersive moments in VR: holding the data in your hands versus diving into the data

Applying the design concept

Sketch of the VR showing the class room and parameter space, and how data points serve as a portal between the scenes.
A sketch of the VR concept showing the class room and parameter space, and how data points serve as a portal between the two spaces.
Overview of the classification results in the class room shown as color-coded point clouds of different algorithms.
Overview of the classification results in the class room.
Activated data points in the class room which show additional information and can be selected to be shown in parameter space.
Zooming in on the details of the data set in the class room.
Sketch which shows examples of parameter walks for three different source classes.
Example of parameter walks for three different source classes.
The parameter space which shows the data traces of various selected X-ray sources. Similar sources occupy the same regions.
Exploring the parameter space

Summary

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annok

annok

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Annika Kreikenbohm is an astrophysicist and information designer based in Würzburg, Germany.