Colin Ware

Colin Ware has a special interest in applying theories of perception to the design of geospatial data interfaces. He has advanced degrees in both computer science (MMath, Waterloo) and in the psychology of perception (PhD,Toronto). He has published over 150 scientific articles ranging from rigorously scientific contributions to the Journal of Physiology, Behavior and Vision Research to applications oriented articles in the fields of data visualization and human-computer interaction. His book Information Visualization: Perception for Design is now in its third edition. His book, Visual Thinking for Design, appeared in 2008. Ware also likes to build practical visualization systems. Fledermaus, a commercial 3D geospatial visualization system widely used in oceanography, was developed from his initial prototypes. His trackPlot software is being used by marine mammal scientists and his flowVis2D software is serving images on NOAA websites. Colin Ware is Director of the Data Visualization Research Lab which is part of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire.

Title of Talk: Perceiving, Interacting and Computing: The Process of Thinking Visually

Teaser: As Edwin Hutchins and others have pointed out, most real world thinking occurs with external aids such as paper and pencil, maps and diagrams. This means that a real world psychology must incorporate cognitive tools and their interfaces together with classic constructs of perceptual psychology, like pattern perception mechanisms and visual working memory. Perception is an active process and visual thinking can be thought of as a set of distributed processes involving pattern finding, eye movements and visual working memory. Interacting with a computer is also an active process, involving activities like zooming in and out, or “brushing” to highlight multiple representations of data entities. When people think using visualizations computational activities are distributed, some occurring in the head, others in the computer and the visualization is a channel between the two computational centers. Using studies of visualizations designed to help analyze data—from social networks and from tagged humpback whales— I will develop visual thinking design patterns as a way of capturing both computer based and brain-based operations in a framework useful for design.

 

Colin Ware