On Saturday 19 March Vislab finally opened for real. The new visualisation lab allows adults and young people to explore and interact with research data to understand how the world is interconnected.
What impact does drinking a cup of coffee have on the planet? Where in Gothenburg is the most energy consumed? What would happen to the lions on the Savannah if the average temperature were to increase? These are questions to which you can seek out answers by exploring and interacting with research data in the new visualisation lab. The research data has been converted into visual representations – images and graphics that make it easier to absorb information and understand complex connections.
– We are sitting on a fantastic toolbox when it comes to using visual representations that really bridge the gap between data and humans. You can understand things with the aid of images that would otherwise be quite complicated. This convergence of exploration and explanatory visualisations offers great scope for communicating science,” says Anders Ynnerman, Professor of Scientific Visualisation at Linköping University and Director of Visualization Center C in Norrköping.
Natural science, technology and sustainable development with a focus on the planet
Labbet är byggt kring fem teman: hav och vatten, skog och land, samhället, människan samt rymden. Inom varje tema får besökaren exempel på olika visualiseringstekniker och hur de kan användas på olika datamängder.
The lab is based around five zones: oceans and water, forest and land, society, humans, and space. Each zone provides visitors with examples of different visualisation techniques and how they can be used for different data sets. The interactive globe at the centre of the lab visualises and links together research data based on a variety of sustainability perspectives, such as climate change, emissions and ecology. At other stations visitors can experience the biodiversity of the ocean or explore Gothenburg’s digital twin to learn about urban development and sustainable cities. And you can also make your own journeys into space with the aid of Open Space, a piece of software for interactive data visualisation of all of the known and scientifically plotted universe. It’s clear that the lab is something different to what Universeum visitors are used to. Björn Edlund, Development Manager at Universeum, explains:
– We’re not particularly simplifying the world here, but on the contrary showing its complexity. You use various visualisation techniques and study the same data as working scientists. It’s a wholly digital and visual experience.
He observes that the lab demands more from visitors, but that those who immerse themselves in the data get a great deal in return. The lab is aimed at adults and young people – you need some level of prior knowledge to be able to interact with the data. This means in turn that Universeum is enhancing its offering for adults. All in all, Vislab offers numerous possibilities for exploring natural science, technology and sustainable development. This also makes the lab a valuable learning environment for schools. Programmes are already available for lower and upper-secondary classes. Companies will also be able to use Vislab for employee skills development.
– The big advantage comes from combining the insights from Vislab with other experiences at Universeum. That really enables you to expand your knowledge and see how you can contribute to a sustainable future,” says Björn Edlund.
Collaboration project with support from the Sten A Olsson Foundation
Vislab has been created by Universeum and Visualiseringscenter C. Universeum has provided the educational expertise, while Visualization Center C has developed visualisations and software. The content is based on Professor Anders Ynnerman’s researc exploranation (a combination ofexplore and explain).
The initiative was facilitated in 2019 by a donation of SEK 50 million from the Sten A Olssons Stiftelse för Forskning och Kultur.
– The Sten A Olsson Foundation safeguards life chances for young people and it is our belief that this fantastic technology and means of education can have a huge impact, providing inspiration for education, learning and research. Universeum has an extremely important mission that they are already well on the way to achieving, and we are delighted to be able to support this,” says Madeleine Olsson Eriksson, Chairman of the Board of the Sten A Olsson Foundation.