Critical to the understanding of data is the ability to provide pictorial or visual representations of that data. Given the ability to access data via an appropriate, easy‐to‐use interface, a researcher must employ tools to visualize data as one important mechanism in the data analysis process. Visualization, then, is a method of computing that gives visual form to complex data utilizing graphics and imaging technology. To support correlative data analysis (i.e., working with data from a variety of sources to study a problem of scientific interest), there is an obvious focus on generic visualization via the development of discipline‐independent visualization techniques. The NSSDC (National Space Science Data Center) Graphics System (NGS) has been developed to provide an interactive discipline‐independent toolbox for nonprogrammers to achieve such visualization of data. The NGS supports displays of any arbitrary multidimensional subset of any data set by providing a large variety of different representation schemes, all of which are supported by implicit animation (i.e., slicing of a data set into sequences). In addition, the design of the NGS provides an open‐ended framework for data visualization, so that new capabilities can be added. New tools have been implemented as a result of NSSDC’s research in several areas of computer science, including novel computer graphics rendering techniques and data structures.

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