Analysing and looking for patterns/trends in data takes a lot of intensive effort, specially more on the limited flat screens which are not apt for visualizing large data sets. Virtual reality provides 360 degrees of space to visualize, analyze and research for data patterns. The brief of this project was to research and come up with ways in which large data can be visualized in the VR 3D space and aid data interpretation.

This project was done in a 1 week sprint and a concept pitch that explores the possibilities of VR as a medium in data visualisation.

With the obvious possiblity of visualizing data in a 3 dimensional space, VR offers more ways (degrees of freedom) by which data plotting and visualization can be done.

Taking some of the above aspects of representing data in 3D space, VR provides a z-depth space for the researcher the explore around plots as shown in the 3D data plot below.

Different visualisation methods in 3D are explored like a tree map in 3D, 3D ring plot. In 3D tree map method, the basic visualisation idea is similar to a tree map but in 3D in which each category of dataset is shown as the proportion of rectangular space it occupies in the whole data.

Plotting the data points in ring surrounding the observer with the vertical dimension denoting a dimension and color / shapes denoting other dimensions.

Height plots that show with height maps.

Different ways of interacting with the data set was also explored such as probing each data samples of the total population, filtering out to interpret particular range of data sets, representing data flow trend in the z-space (for example, profit in the positive z-axis and loss in the negative Z). Some of these interaction concepts are shown in the concept renders below. The Analyst can scale, zoom into and fiter through data sets without the restrictions of limited screen space.

More data visualization concepts were explored and this is just a scratch on surface for the possibilities of data visualisation in 3D VR space. Prototyping some of the concepts was done by XR Labs and pitched. Some of the take-aways of the design reserach is listed below.

Immersive and Collaborative Data Visualization using Virtual Reality Platforms

Immersive data visualization by Jourlism 360 grant winner

Masters of Pie Big Data VR challenge phase 1

Masters of Pie Big Data VR challenge phase 2 update