FAnToM - Lessons Learned from Design, Implementation, Administration, and Use of a Visualization System for Over 10 Years

TitleFAnToM - Lessons Learned from Design, Implementation, Administration, and Use of a Visualization System for Over 10 Years
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGerik Scheuermann, Alexander Wiebel, Christoph Garth, Mario Hlawitschka, Thomas Wischgoll
Abstract

Scientific visualization has become a central tool in many research areas since it has been established as a research discipline in 1987 [2]. Naturally, this development resulted in software tools specifically tailored for the visualization task at hand. While many such tools exist, the design choices underlying them vary greatly. This abstract describes some aspects of the FAnToM1 visualization system that is being developed since 1999. Initially created to support research in topological methods for vector and tensor fields, the system quickly grew into a visualization platform for general flow visualization specialized to data represented on unstructured grids. From this origin, FAnToM derives advanced data structures for point location and interpolation over unstructured meshes, as well as fast integral curve capabilities. More recently, FAnToM has gradually been extended to serve a wider area of visualization applications, including medical and graph visualization. Throughout the development of FAnToM, close collaboration with application domain scientists has been a strong priority to facilitate the system ’s usefulness on state-of-the-art problems. The continuous development of this system over a period of ten years revealed a number of important aspects that are crucial for the usefulness of a visualization system. Furthermore, some design choices underlying FAnToM are uncommon among visualization systems in general. Here, it is our aim to discuss some aspects and design choices underlying the FAnToM system to illustrate some of its properties and differences from other visualization systems. During the discussion, we will point out some experiences and lessons learned in working with the system on modern visualization applications.