Introduction to IATK: An Immersive Visual Analytics toolkit

Immersive Analytics is an emerging interdisciplinary research area that investigates the use of nontraditional display and input technology to immerse users in their data. A prominent aspect this research investigates is “immersive data visualization”, which uses augmented and virtual reality technology to visually immerse users in their data to facilitate collaboration, exploration and understanding. Currently, there is a lack of simple tools to build interactive data visualizations in immersive environments. The de facto approach is to use off-the-shelf game engines because they allow easy prototyping of 3D user interfaces in these immersive environments. However, game engines do not consider the specialized requirements of data visualization, such as the type and structure of datasets, the breadth of data, especially in the age of “big data”, and typical information visualization tasks. IATK: Immersive Analytics Toolkit is an open source visualization toolkit for the Unity game engine that fills this gap. Specifically, IATK:

– supports an infovis pipeline for virtual and augmented reality environments;
– visualizes large (up to 1 million) data points at an optimal framerate for immersive applications; and,
– provides a technology-agnostic model for user interactions with immersive visualizations.
This tutorial will introduce participants to the Unity game engine and teach practical skills for implementing immersive data visualisations using IATK.

Organizer: Maxime Cordeil (Monash University Melbourne)