Nature of data

Nature of data is a research onto using a natural system for datavisualization by simulating this process through programming. To which extent can natural processes contribute in the design of information visualizations?


Simulated growth of veins through programming.

The research contains information on three topics: datavisualization, software writing and simulation of natural processes. The focus of this research is on developing a new method for visualizing data, by using inspiration from nature. I researched different models for simulating nature: fractals, chaos, complex systems and adaption. A biological theory on leaf venation was translated into a set of rules of computer code, and this algorithm formed the base of the simulation of a natural system. I chose venation to simulate because of the possibilities of creating different vein-patterns, and also because of natural ability of the human visual system to recognize patterns. By simulating a natural process with written software, a complex system emerged. The final step was to connect the catagories of a dataset to the variables of the algorithm. Influencing this system with data led to interesting visualisations.

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Booklet with the visualizations on the subject of urbanization in herbarium style. Each venation pattern displays one city: the diameter corresponds with the size of the city (square km), and the density of the pattern corresponds with the density of addresses in the city. The color is a gradation of blue: towards red implies a increase in the density of address over the last five years and towards green implies a decrease.