Since the early beginning of the industry time data of technical processes have been visualized and monitored using traditional, analog instruments. Later digital instruments were used and finally, computers are increasingly used to visualize processes. So process visualization is the visualization of data from technical processes and is therefore a sub-field of information visualization, but it is much older.
In recent years sensors and actors of processes are connected by a field bus. Also computers, which provide a monitoring facility, are connected to this field bus. Those field bus systems can be found in factories, power plants, aeroplanes, cars, buildings, etc.
In modern cars there is a need for connecting many actors, sensors and display elements. These connections have to be reliable, redundanat, fast and not too expensive. For these requirements a new field bus system was developed by the company TTTech from Vienna. This field bus is called ''TTP'' (Time Triggered Protocol) and follows the time triggered approach.
In other field bus systems source and destination of a message are addressed by a binary-coded address, which is a part of the message. In the TTP source and destination of a transfer are no longer recognized by an address but by the exactly occurrance in time. So the TTP avoids the overhead of transfering addresses with each message and has therefore a lower latency, which is important for example for implementing an ABS. The TTP is also designed as a multi-redundant system.
This field bus was too new to be sopported by the leading visualization tools or libraries, so visualization software was missing. So we designed and implemented a new visalization software in cooperation with the company Imagination (Vienna).
In the following sections we describe the state of the art (which products are on the market), the special requirements for visualization of real-time data (regard for human perception, redundancy, interaction, etc.), new extensions to process visualization (how we implemented the design requirements using virtual instruments), the implementation and evaluation of the software (application context, operating system, usability) and what future work we will do.