To improve our software tool there are some features that can be implemented in the future. Visualization in 3D has some advantages, auto arrangements can assist the user. The using of several levels of detail and the technique of focus and context can help the user to obtain a general view at any time.
In 3D you have all display possibilities as in the real world. You
can visualize data corresponding to the origin in the real world.
You can even use more different attributes (size, orientation,
texture, color, rotation, ... ) to visualize values. But in 3D you
often have the problem of overlapping, and its not so easy to
In 2D you have the main advantage of fast display rendering and easy navigating with standard input and output devices. But because of the missing dimension you have often to display data in an abstract way.
It would be nice, if the use does not have to arrange all elements of a visualization software manually. So automatic arrangements based on logical or physical dependencies are desired.
To optimize usage of screen space, several levels of details (LOD) are used. One LOD shows only if a value is valid or not. Another LOD shows of which reliability the value has. The next LOD shows the value in its decimal representation. Then there could be displayed a full featured gauge.
Especially in real-time applications the user must have an overview
of the system at any time, because he must not miss any critical
But in most cases there is not enough space to display all data values of the system big enough to read the exact value. So the method of ''focus and context'' was developed. With this method you see the item, which has the focus in more detail, and you see its context, maybe less detailed, too. So the overview and detailed information are guarantied at the same time.
The use of special projections to display important information in more detail. A good example are ''billboards''. Billboards are little 2D display elements which are positioned in a 3D scene, facing exact to the user, independant of the orientation of the 3D model.