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Journal Articles Information Visualization Year : 2011

Collaborative Visualization: Definition, Challenges, and Research Agenda

Niklas Elmqvist
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Jean Scholtz
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Kwan-Liu Ma
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Hans Hagen
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The conflux of two growing areas of technology---collaboration and visualization---into a new research direction, collaborative visualization, provides new research challenges. Technology now allows us to easily connect and collaborate with one another---in settings as diverse as over networked computers, across mobile devices, or using shared displays such as interactive walls and tabletop surfaces. Digital information is now regularly accessed by multiple people in order to share information, to view it together, to analyze it, or to form decisions. Visualizations are used to deal more effectively with large amounts of information while interactive visualizations allow users to explore the underlying data. While researchers face many challenges in collaboration and in visualization, the emergence of collaborative visualization poses additional challenges but is also an exciting opportunity to reach new audiences and applications for visualization tools and techniques. The purpose of this article is (1) to provide a definition, clear scope, and overview of the evolving field of collaborative visualization, (2) to help pinpoint the unique focus of collaborative visualization with its specific aspects, challenges, and requirements within the intersection of general computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and visualization research, and (3) to draw attention to important future research questions to be addressed by the community. We conclude by discussing a research agenda for future work on collaborative visualization and urge for a new generation of visualization tools that are designed with collaboration in mind from their very inception.
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Dates and versions

inria-00638540 , version 1 (05-11-2011)



Petra Isenberg, Niklas Elmqvist, Jean Scholtz, Daniel Cernea, Kwan-Liu Ma, et al.. Collaborative Visualization: Definition, Challenges, and Research Agenda. Information Visualization, 2011, Special Issue on Information Visualization: State of the Field and New Research Directions, 10 (4), pp.310--326. ⟨10.1177/1473871611412817⟩. ⟨inria-00638540⟩
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