Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a 3D environment?

This is any virtual space where you are free to move (or position objects) in any of the three dimensions - up/down, left/right or backwards/forwards. You are probably more familiar with these than you think. If you've ever played a video game and ran around a building, an alien planet or a football field then you're in a 3D environment.

Do you exclusively use 3D environments?

Some applications are ideally suited to a 3D environment, such as visualising complex 3D structures or exploring an outdoor space for example. However, we also believe that traditional 2D data may benefit from being situated in a 3D world. See the data visualisation FAQ below and refer to the blog for a more in-depth explanation.

Can I access a 3D world on any device?

Yes. It used to be the case that to interact with any type of 3D world you had to use a high-end PC or a games console. This is no longer the case. Complex 3D environments can be viewed in a web browser and on mobile devices.

Do you do other 3D work outside data visualisation, VR and AR?

Yes. We have previously built bespoke 3D applications/tools in many areas, such as animation, games, learning environments, 3D modelling and more. If you need a solution to your 3D problem then please get in touch.

What is data visualisation?

The visualisation or representation of data in graphical form. We are typically used to seeing such data presented as graphs, bar charts or infographics. While these work adequately we try and give a more interactive experience by utilising 3D environments.

Do you only visualise data in 3D?

Predominantly, yes. We believe that 3D offers significant benefits over a 2D counterpart. For a more detailed discussion on the benefits see the blog.

What are the benefits of visualising data in 3D?

It is an ideal mechanism for visualising three-dimensional structures and data with multiple dimensions, such as time-varying data for example. It also offers greater utilisation of the space, with an associated increase in clarity. This may well help to spot any emerging trends, which may also provide financial benefits. For a full discussion, check out the blog.

What types of data do you visualise?

Anything and everything! We have visualised data in the fields of medicine, sports, astronomy, finance, architecture, the list is endless! Whatever data you have, we will be able to visualise it.

Do I need to know how I want my data visualised?

No, not at all! If you already have some idea of how you'd like to see your data then that's great, but if not then we will discuss all your requirements and design a visualisation that matches your needs.

Can I just use PowerBI or Tableau instead?

Of course! They are great pieces of software, but they are predominantly designed to create dashboards that represent 2D data. Ultimately it depends on the complexity of your data and a 2D representation may suffice, but if your data is slightly more complicated then it may well be that a 3D environment is the best fit.

What is virtual reality?

It is the simulation of an environment or experience in a virtual world. A popular example is a video game - where you are free to roam around a virtual space and experience the content as if it were happening to you, be it driving a rally car or blasting alien hordes. Typically, virtual reality is used to refer to experiences that use technology such as head-mounted displays but any experience that is situated in a virtual world may be said to be virtual reality. Application areas are wide and diverse, ranging from entertainment to medical applications and training scenarios.

Do I need expensive hardware to use VR?

No, not at all. You can experience VR by playing a game on a mobile device. More costly solutions are also available, utilising head-mounted displays to track your head movements, handheld controllers for interaction and haptic feedback devices to generate a sense of touch.

Can I use head-mounted displays and what types are there?

Yes, head-mounted displays track your head movements allowing you to look around a virtual space more naturally. Lower-end devices can use mobile phones that slot into a headset. More costly systems offer high-resolution displays and wireless headsets (there are no cables to trip you up as you move about). We have experience of such systems and would be willing to recommend a solution to fit your needs.

Can I use a headset for VR in a browser?

Yes, you can. WebXR technology (previously referred to as WebVR but now signifies that both VR and AR are supported) enables devices such as head-mounted displays to communicate with web browsers to provide a virtual reality experience.

Does using a headset make you feel a bit queasy?

It is possible, yes. As you move your head around, the viewpoint may not quite update as quickly as you can move. This may sometimes lead to a feeling of motion sickness. This may also happen if the scene is moving without your control - such as a roller coaster for example. Modern hardware with quick response times and a high-resolution display, combined with a well-designed application, can go some way to alleviating this (if that is the desired effect!).

What are the benefits of using VR?

Imagine that you have a complex manual operation to perform or a hazardous procedure that you need to practice safely without endangering people. Virtual reality allows you to create scenarios where you can train people to perform such tasks without fear of doing it incorrectly or mistakes being dangerous. You can practice as often as you like and receive all the relevant training until you are proficient. The financial benefits may be considerable, as the whole procedure is simulated thereby saving on costly equipment or materials.

What is augmented reality?

This is the addition ("augmenting") of information or content onto a real-world experience. For example, you may point your mobile device at a historical building and it may display relevant information, such as its age, who lived there, what they were famous for, etc. The information is seamlessly integrated into the view. Applications include virtual exhibitions, games, medical procedures, architecture and many more.

What types of AR are there?

Earlier AR systems used markers to detect where a virtual object should be placed in the environment. Each marker is associated with differing content. This process relies on image processing software to detect each marker. More sophisticated systems use image processing to determine other characteristics, such as a flat surface, and place the virtual content accordingly. AR systems may also use geographical location to identify places of interest in the surrounding environment and add appropriate information, such as historical details or directions to a nearby landmark.

Do I need any special technology?

Not at all. Although there have been specialist devices designed to present augmented information such as AR glasses or heads-up displays, AR is capable of working in a web browser without additional software, it relies on the device camera (or webcam) to operate. There are also AR applications that may be used on mobile devices.

If you have any questions that you did not find an answer for here then please get in touch.

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The conventional view of data visualisation consists of graphs, bar charts, histograms and varied types of infographics, etc. Whilst these methods can portray trends or give meaning to the data, we believe that there are more effective ways to visualise things.

Here you can see data that you would normally expect to see represented as a bar chart or something similar is represented as a collection of 3D bar charts. So why is this better?

What about power bi and tableau, etc.


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