Visualizing Heterogeneous Utility Data: A Case for Aesthetic Design

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The Eurographics Association
A map visually enfolds selected messages to a target audience. To achieve this effectively, a clear understanding of 'the message, the user and the purpose' of the map needs to be translated into successful design choices covering content, typography, style and layout. Aesthetics not only inform the local design space over which rules for visual mappings are defined, but they also offer global heuristics to ensure overall visual excellence. In the world of underground utilities where companies use maps to communicate the location of their buried services, personal, internal and sector depiction standards and guidelines have a strong influence on visual design. When the scope of a map, defined by its message, user and purpose' is overlooked, conflicts arise such as between the need for realism and schematisation. In this paper we examine the role aesthetics play in the context of the utility-sector work-flow. We discuss conflicts that arise when the scope of a map's use is not carefully considered. We give details of a case study where we have attempted to reconcile a conflict between accuracy and clarity through a clutter aesthetic. Central to this research is the observed link between data, task and aesthetics; and the question of to what extent can aesthetics be designed and incorporated algorithmically.

, booktitle = {
Eurographics 2009 - Areas Papers
}, editor = {
D. Ebert and J. Krüger
}, title = {{
Visualizing Heterogeneous Utility Data: A Case for Aesthetic Design
}}, author = {
Boukhelifa, Nadia
Duke, David
}, year = {
}, publisher = {
The Eurographics Association
}, ISBN = {}, DOI = {
} }