Data Visualization in VR/AR

By Danqi Meng

The depiction of data through the use of typical graphics, such as infographics, charts, and even animations,
is known as data visualization. These informational visual representations make complex data relationships
and data-driven insights simple to comprehend. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two ways to
make the direct perception of data through images of virtual data. These potentially powerful and innovative
multidimensional data visualization tools can also provide an easy and natural way to visualize and explore
collaborative data. This data can come from a variety of sources. Especially appropriate to portray in VR and
AR is data that is associated with specific locations or spaces. For example, one can collect data on
temperature, humidity, and particle concentration at different locations in a building and then visually represent
the data in the form of numeric, graphs, charts, and other methods. One can visually visualize the data at
different times by swiping to change the date and moment of the data. In addition, with appropriate
programming different types of data can be toggled with a button. WSP’s office in downtown Los Angeles
was chosen as a case study. The indoor environmental condition was recorded every minute. Temperature and
relative humidity was collected by a HOBO MX 1102 sensor, and the particle density collected as the
concentration of PM 2.5 in the office gathered by Pa- II- SD air quality sensor from PurpleAir. The spatial
model and data were processed by Unity to visualize different positions at different times. The sensors were
used as props to collect real-time data so that people can walk into the room and see the temperature and
other conditions of the building from the physical sense and data. Through all these, it is possible to monitor
the indoor environmental conditions of a room during a period to test the comfort level of this room for
humans. Then the data was transformed to both a VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) environments.
Both VR and AR could be beneficial as two techniques for people to have a better understanding of the indoor
environment quality. It also provides a tool for people to choose the most suitable location for themselves
within the office.