Guest post from Frank van Ham, Master Inventor, Information Visualization and Visual Interaction Expert
What’s the right visualization for your data? That depends. What kind of data are you using, what type of analysis are you carrying out and what do you plan to do with it? Answering those questions and choosing an appropriate visualization used to be fairly simple, but the increasing interest in using big data has complicated things. That’s because visualization is often critically important in understanding what portions of the data are worth further exploration. Plus, to convey meaning when exploring big data, entirely new types of visualization may be needed.
Knowing this, IBM added “extensible visualization” to our Business Analytics software to make it easier for clients to “open up” and adapt our visualization components – or even create new ones -- to meet their particular needs, especially when working with big data.
We have created self-contained visualization components based on IBM's new Rapidly Adaptive Visualization Engine (RAVE).* These components make it simpler to create, add and change visualization resources.
What does this mean for clients using Business Analytics software? Three things:
1. Dynamic integration. Visualizations are no longer hard-coded into our products but instead are integrated dynamically. Clients can access new visualizations through a simple download from AnalyticsZone.com. From there, they can create a custom selection of visualizations based on their specific requirements.
2. Customizability. RAVE technology provides readable and accessible descriptions of the visual mapping so that downloaded visualizations can be tweaked without having to dive into the product codebase. Visualization components can be edited in isolation and redeployed into the software as desired.
3. Code reuse. The IBM Business Analytics development team can now reuse the same visualization asset across many different products. This offers clients greater consistency in the types of visualizations they will have available, when they need to create that “right” visualization.
A dynamically gallery populated with a number of componentized visualization resources
Extensible visualization is currently available in Cognos 10.2.1 for Active Reports. Visit the new extensible visualization community at analyticszone.com/visualization and start exploring over 20 extensible visualizations available for download today.
*RAVE is based on The Grammar of Graphics by Leland Wilkinson and uses IBM patented methods to render a range of visualizations from line graphs to heatmaps and phrasenets to bubble charts.
Frank van Ham is a well-known research scientist and an IBM Master Inventor with over a decade in experience in designing and deploying interactive information visualization. Some of his past projects include Many Eyes, a site for collaborative visualization and SequoiaView, a visual disk browser. Dr. van Ham currently works with the IBM Business Analytics division on integrating visualization into IBM's product portfolio.