Animation and the Role of Map Design in Scientific Visualization
Scientists visualize data for a range of purposes, from exploring unfamiliar data sets to communicating insights revealed by visual analyses. As the supply of numerical environmental data has increased, so has the need for effective visual methods, especially for exploratory data analysis. Map animation is particularly attractive to earth system scientists who typically study large spatio-temporal data sets. In addition to the "visual variables" of static maps, animated maps are composed of three basic design elements or "dynamic variables"–scene duration, rate of change between scenes, and scene order. The dynamic variables can be used to emphasize the location of a phenomenon, emphasize its attributes, or visualize change in its spatial, temporal, and attribute dimensions. In combination with static maps, graphs, diagrams, images, and sound, animation enhances analysts' ability to express data in a variety of complementary forms.