Visualization - Alternative Representations of Information

Information Visualization and Sonorification

Beyond text: visualization, metaphor, logos, virtual reality and sound


Traditionally all information produced by the UIA has taken textual form, partly due to lack of resources, but also due to lack of adequate software to manipulate images or to generate meaningful graphics from UIA data.

Anthony Judge, former Director of Communication and Research of the UIA, had a long-term interest in information visualization. As early as in 1971, he produced a 16mm film (now in electronic format) called Visualization of Organization which is about the work of the UIA in this field.

UIA Initiatives Moving Beyond the Text Constraint

1997 Publication of World Guide to Logotypes, Emblems and Trademarks of International Organizations, where the pictorial side of international organizations was presented for the first time. See also the logotypes browsing tool on the Yearbook Online. (Note: non-subscribers will have access to a trimmed down version of the organization's profile, while the more complete organization profiles still remain accessible to paying subscribers. For information on how to subscribe, please contact Brill, our publisher.)
  Experiments with virtual reality displays in three dimensions, as a way of improving comprehension of complex systems of linkages between organizations and between problems.
1999 These experiments were integrated with the online version of UIA databases to provide users with:
  • interactive visual interfaces using both virtual reality and maps (applets)
  • generative music as a guide to further experiments into the relevance of the theory of harmony to new approaches to harmonizing seemingly incompatible strategic perspectives
  For detailed information about these experiments, see Experiments in multi-media visualizations.
2008 The UIA began to offer the Keynote Listening service which is a tool facilitating understanding and inspiring participant engagement during conferences by representing information in alternative visual ways.
2009 The UIA introduced Live statistical widgets beta which are illustrations (visualizations, graphs, maps, tables, etc.) using 'live' statistical data on global civil society networks, as produced by the UIA. Widgets, when embedded on a web page, dynamically reflect changing data as the data is updated.