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?

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.

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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.