Humans are visual creatures and as such process visual information much faster than they process text, audio and other modalities. Human beings are also able to detect patterns and anomalies with the blink of an eye. Data visualization makes use of these strong visual capabilities by representing data in graphically. The resulting data visualizations allow for faster interpretation of larger data sets. Once interactivity with the data has been added, a user can visually and intuitively explore and analyze data sets.

Traffic intensity before, during and after intelligent lockdown measures in the Netherlands.

The Data Visualization Lab at AMS Institute develops and applies state-of-the-art technology in data visualization. The Data Vis team supports and advises AMS projects on their data visualization and analysis needs. This support can include data analysis, for instance to confirm hypotheses or find interesting research directions. And it can include data visualizations to communicate project results to the outside world accessibly and aesthetically. This advisory task is informed by continuous research and implementation of tools and techniques for data visualization. For instance, the team researches how virtual reality (VR) can enhance data visualization. VR allows for immersive data visualization, where the user is completely surrounded by data. Using VR has more impact than traditional media when users explore data or enjoy stories supported by data.

Lastly, the Data Vis team seeks collaborations with others on data visualization. This includes, for instance, exploring projection mapping in data visualization with the design agency CleverFranke. At the DataLab of the city of Amsterdam, the Data Vis team co-develops the so-called “Drukteradar” (crowdedness radar), a visual tool for analyzing crowds and traffic flows in the city of Amsterdam. As of recent, the Data Vis team is exploring opportunities to collaborate at its news location, the Marineterrein, with potential partners involved in VR, data science and other complementary topics.

Keeping the city clean and safe is an enormous operation. This visualization shows how the city wakes up.