Below are some examples of existing methods for glyph/data placement, using the well-known IRIS data set. This data has 4 dimensions: petal length, petal width, cepal length, and cepal width. The data covers 3 varieties of iris, with some separation between varieties. The first example shows the IRIS data in the original order it was stored, using XmdvTool.

In this figure, the IRIS data is sorted by sepal length.

Here I use a scatterplot to show the IRIS data, with position based on 2 dimensions (sepal length vs. sepal width), using XmdvTool.

Some possible filling patterns for linear ordered glyphs, based on VisDB.

A recursive filling pattern, scanned from [Keim95].

In this figure, the IRIS data is sorted by sepal length and positioned in a spiral pattern, as in VisDB.

The IRIS data in hierarchical placement, partitioned using DySect [Andreae] and drawn using a new plotting program based on tree-maps. The method recursively divides space based on the size of membership in partitions and subpartitions, alternating horizontal and vertical orientation. The width and intensity of the boundaries show different levels of partitioning.

Entities with distance/similarity relationships can be placed using dimensionality reduction techniques such as multidimensional scaling [Bentley96] or principal components analysis. Another strategy is to perform clustering on the entities and use either a space partitioning algorithm such as tree-maps or a spring model to force separation between clusters while encouraging bonding within clusters.

Here the IRIS data is plotted using multidimensional scaling, using MAVIS.

Here the IRIS data is plotted using principal components analysis, using XmdvTool (experimental).

Andreae, P., Dawkins, B., and O'Connor, P., ``DySect: an incremental clustering algorithm,'' document included with public-domain version of the software, retrieved from http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/general/dysect.

Bentley, C.L., and Ward, M.O., ``Animating multidimensional scaling to visualize n-dimensional data sets,'' IEEE Information Visualization '96, pp. 72-73, October, 1996.

Ingram, R. and Benford, S., ``Legibility enhancement for information visualization,'' IEEE Visualization '95, pp. 209-216, October, 1995.

Johnson, B. and Shneiderman, B., ``Tree-maps: a space-filling approach to the visualization of hierarchical information structures, IEEE Visualization '91, pp. 189-194, October, 1991.

Keim, D.A., and Kriegel, H.-P., ``VisDB: database exploration using multidimensional visualization'', Computer Graphics and Applications, pp.40-49, September, 1994.

Keim, D.A., Kriegel, H.-P., and Ankerst, M., ``Recursive pattern: a technique for visualizing very large amounts of data,'' IEEE Visualization '95, pp. 279-286, October, 1995.

Robertson, G., Card, S., and Mackinlay, J., ``Cone Trees: animated 3D visualizations of hierarchical information,'' Proc. of CHI '91, pp. 189-194, 1991.

Ward, M.O., ``XmdvTool: integrating multiple methods for visualizing multivariate data,'' IEEE Visualization '94, pp. 326-333, October, 1994.