Towards A Role of Visualization in Social Modeling

Remco Chang, Alex Godwin, Robert Kosara, William Ribarsky

The traditional role of visualization in large scale social modeling projects has mostly been relegated to presentation and reporting. While these projects see the potential of communicating information visually, the visualization component has too often been considered as the final stage of a long process, sometimes as a lastminute add-on. The result is that these visualization components are limited in capabilities, and often appear disjointed and forced from the rest of the project. In this paper, we propose that for visualization to be more commonly accepted, it needs to fit the role as an analytical tool on top of being a presentation component. We use our probe-based visualization as an example of how such cross-over can occur, and present some challenges in social modeling that can be addressed using visualization techniques.

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