Experimenting with Data Visualization in VR

WHAT DID WE EXPERIMENT WITH?

Our aim with this experiment was to find an inexpensive and quick way to try out a data visualization in VR. We wanted to learn more about the companies out there working on this, and to work through what some of the use cases might be for SAGE, an academic publisher with a long history of research methods publishing and growing list of data viz books and online courses

HOW DID WE DO IT?

One of the initial ideas was to produce an experience that would act as a delighter at conferences where we were meeting with librarians about SAGE Stats and wanted to create a fun and memorable experience in the booth that they could link to the product. To do that, we used a Datavized product called GeoMetric, because it allowed for 3D visualization of data on a globe, which matched up with the kind of geospatial data series which are included in SAGE Stats. We then employed a data series from SAGE Stats—Persons Not Covered by Health Insurance—and created a 3D visualization which showed how the number of uninsured people in each state across the United States changed over time. To see some of the outputs and read more about this experiment, check out this SAGE Ocean blog.

WHAT DID WE LEARN AND OTHER IDEAS?

We learnt a couple of things—first that VR is fun! Second, that having a story around what you are trying to tell is critical. Furthermore, we also learnt that developing something that works across platforms is key. Finally, we found that our expectations of VR are very high, and many people that looked at the outputs wanted to dig deeper into the data.

In summary, working with Datavized was great and we’ve produced a cool little experience to show off SAGE Stats at conferences. 

TEAM

Katie Metzler with Datavized