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The Aesthetics of the Underworld

Boukhelifa, N. and Duke, D.J. (2008) The Aesthetics of the Underworld. In: Brown, P., Cunningham, D.W., Interrante, V. and McCormack, J., (eds.) Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging (2008). International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging, June 18–20 2008, Lisbon, Portugal. Eurographics , pp. 41-48. ISBN 1816-0859


Although the development of computational aesthetics has largely concentrated on 3D geometry and illustrative rendering, aesthetics are equally an important principle underlying 2D graphics and information visualization. A canonical example is Beck’s design of the London underground map, which not only produced an informative and practical artefact, but also established a design aesthetic that has been widely adopted in other applications. This paper contributes a novel hybrid view to the debate on aesthetics. It arises from a practical industrial problem, that of mapping the vast network of underground assets, and producing outputs that can be readily comprehended by a range of users, from back-office planning staff through to on-site excavation teams. This work describes the link between asset drawing aesthetics and tasks, and discusses methods developed to support the presentation of integrated asset data. It distinguishes a holistic approach to visual complexity, taking clutter as one component of aesthetics, from the graph-theoretic reductionist model needed to measure and remove clutter. We argue that ‘de-cluttering’ does not mean loss of information, but rather repackaging details to make them more accessible. In this respect, aesthetics have a fundamental role in implementing Schneiderman’s mantra of ‘overview, zoom & filter, details-on-demand’ for information visualization.

Item Type: Proceedings Paper
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Computing (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2009 16:41
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 01:34
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2312/COMPAESTH/COMPAESTH08/04...
Status: Published
Publisher: Eurographics
Identification Number: 10.2312/COMPAESTH/COMPAESTH08/041-048
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9072

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