FreeDigitalPhotos-telescope-ID-10026598The term “first light” is used from astronomy to denote the first observation from a new telescope. Hence, behold the first pixels from a new website. There is another meaning for this term – the dawn of a new day. Will this website be the dawn of a new day for visual analytics? I have no idea! And, the answer depends entirely on you…

The purpose of this website is to rally innovators to explore the potential of virtual data worlds. We have plenty of problems to solve with enterprise analytics and big data. We have plenty of technology to apply with massively parallel processing, analytic tools, and now virtual reality. The challenge is the proper application of that technology to those problems.

Our focus is the design and creation of virtual data worlds that brings together all the aspects and analyses of a complex system into one coherent environment. The approach of applying 3D visualizations and virtual reality to creating data worlds is quite old, with several decades of history. Current wisdom is that 2D visualization is sufficient and superior to the fancy 3D methods, for which there is research justification. However, there are numerous alternatives yet to be explored. In particular, the subjective feeling of immersion is elusive, and powerful advances in analytics are game changing. Finally, current practices of data visualization and potential advances with immersive analytics are complementary. If we are smart and careful enough, the synergism will result in something greater than the sum than its parts.  …more

We are an open professional community that will seriously explore these ideas. The success of this open community will depend entirely on sharing, contributing and synthesizing ideas. The intent is to stimulate advances in both commercial and academic settings, in both large and small organizations. Hence, we have a policy of openness, with Creative Commons (with Attribution) on discussions and MIT/BSD/Apache license on software. Over time, we will hopefully have a large gallery of data world examples to be downloaded and played with, serving as a springboard for creating your custom world.

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