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Visualising research data

An artist's render of a visualisation wall displaying images of a flower, the sun and a cloud

Data visualisation is the presentation of information in a pictorial or graphical format. Its goal is to convey information clearly and efficiently, and it is one of the steps in data analysis.

Because of the way the human brain processes information, it’s easier to comprehend large amounts of data using pictures or graphs than poring over numbers or tables. In addition to facilitating comprehension, data visualisation can help to identify relationships, patterns or trends, and it can open up access to data and analyses by making them understandable for anyone.

UCT supports infrastructure that the university’s researchers can use to visualise their data.
 

  • Virtual reality

    Virtual reality (VR) is the computer-generated simulation of a 3D image or environment that can be interacted with using special equipment, such as a headset. UCT eResearch offers researchers the use of commercial VR via the Oculus Rift headset, which consists of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes.

    Get access

    To use an Oculus Rift headset for virtual reality purposes, researchers can email UCT eResearch.

  • Visualisation wall

    The visualisation wall, housed in an 80 seater venue at Hlanganani Junction, is made up of 10 monitors driven by a powerful computer that collectively can display 20 million pixels. The software allows multiple researchers to display their data, extracted information, visualisations and animations at the same time on a very large-format screen, and to use their own devices to interact with the displays.

    Get access

    To reserve the venue housing the visualisation wall at Hlanganani Junction, use your Microsoft Outlook calendar and select Hlanganani Junction from the address book. For support, contact UCT eResearch.

  • Planetarium and Digital Dome

    The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is a facility available to researchers from UCT for visualising research data on a 360-degree display. Researchers in fields as diverse as geology, climate and earth science, medical science, town planning, animation and fine art – as well as planetary and solar system science – could benefit from the facility.

    Get access

    Before using the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome, researchers will need training on how to use the software that drives the projector and theatre systems. Professor Tom Jarrett (UCT) and Associate Professor Michelle Cluver (University of the Western Cape) hold workshops and Data to Dome events to exhibit the system and how it can be used by researchers.

    You can contact the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy to find out about using the facilities.

    Primary access for researchers is every Monday from 8:00 to 17:00. There are also slots available from 15:00 to 17:00 every day.