Understanding Visualization: A formal approach using category theory and semiotics

Vickers, Paul, Faith, Joe and Rossiter, Nick (2013) Understanding Visualization: A formal approach using category theory and semiotics. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 19 (6). pp. 1048-1061. ISSN 1077-2626

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2012.294


This article combines the vocabulary of semiotics and category theory to provide a formal analysis of visualization. It shows how familiar processes of visualization fit the semiotic frameworks of both Saussure and Peirce, and extends these structures using the tools of category theory to provide a general framework for understanding visualization in practice, including: relationships between systems, data collected from those systems, renderings of those data in the form of representations, the reading of those representations to create visualizations, and the use of those visualizations to create knowledge and understanding of the system under inspection. The resulting framework is validated by demonstrating how familiar information visualization concepts (such as literalness, sensitivity, redundancy, ambiguity, generalizability, and chart junk) arise naturally from it and can be defined formally and precisely. This article generalizes previous work on the formal characterization of visualization by, inter alia, Ziemkiewicz and Kosara and allows us to formally distinguish properties of the visualization process that previous work does not.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online before print.
Uncontrolled Keywords: G mathematics of computing, Information visualization, category theory, semiotics
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G600 Software Engineering
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2013 09:00
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:33
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/12084

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