A Strategy for Uncertainty Visualization Design


  1. Lapinski, A.-L.S.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN)
Visualizing uncertainty can be a challenging endeavour. In an attempt to minimize the challenges, this paper defines a systematic approach to designing a visual representation of uncertainty called the Uncertainty Visualization Development Strategy (UVDS). The strategy helps in the understanding of both the data and the uncertainty. The UVDS has eleven steps which include: identify the uncertainty visualization task; understanding the data that need to have their uncertainty visualized; understanding why uncertainty needs to be visualized and how the uncertainty visualization needs to help the user; deciding on the uncertainty to be visualized; deciding on a definition of uncertainty; determining the specific causes of the uncertainty; determining the causal categories of the uncertainty; determining the visualization requirements; calculating, assigning, or extracting the uncertainty; trying different uncertainty visualization techniques; and obtaining audience opinions and criticisms. The UVDS has been created specifically to help the designer produce comprehensive uncertainty visualizations, allow the designer more time to focus on the creative aspects of the work, and give those trying to understand what is behind the design a clearer understanding. As an example application of the UVDS, it is applied to current research regarding uncertainty visualization for the Canadian Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP).

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Uncertainty;Information assurance;Decision support systems;Information processing
Report Number
DRDC-ATLANTIC-TM-2009-151 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
09 Oct 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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