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An electrifying new look at scientific visualization

The Advanced Visualization Lab helps researchers create interactive visualizations

Research and discovery Sep 20, 2022

Explaining something complicated is often easier when there’s a visual, but if your visual is too complex or unengaging, no one is going to get anything out of it. A consultation with the Advanced Visualization Lab (AVL) can help make it sizzle.

Scientific visualizations are traditionally rendered as still images or videos, but the AVL can help make them interactive in an easily accessible online environment. Check out this lightning visualization, which David Reagan, a systems programmer and analyst in the lab, used as his test subject. He turned pages of numeric data sets of lightning propagation gathered by low frequency array  telescopes in the Netherlands into a much-improved 3-dimensional visualization. The new visualization makes it easy to view and analyze lightning events in interactive 3D, which can help when identifying unique lightning features, such as inception and propagation of a unique strike.

The improved lightning visualization took first prize in the PEARC Interact! competition this year, and it quickly gained popularity on the Sketchfab website, which hosts the AVL’s 3D models and makes it easy for researchers to share their work online in interactive 3D. The lightning visualization became the AVL’s most-viewed model on the site and was also named an exclusive Staff Pick and featured on Sketchfab’s Instagram.

If you’re struggling to make your work understood visually, request a consultation with the AVL. 

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