The two dimensional information visualization environment combines two dimensional data representation and two dimensional data types. Examples of applications for the 2-D environment include: Geographic information services (GIS), computer chip design, newspaper layouts, and photography. GIS includes geographic mapping applications such as Atlas GIS and ArcView. Advanced drawing and art programs like Pad++ give users the ability to create drawings with greater precision while being able to view and modify their work with special features like semantic zooming. Photoshop is a software product that allows designers and photographers to create original artwork, correct color, retouch and composite scanned images. Newspaper layout applications are another area where a two dimensional environment proves useful for locating articles or finding blank areas.

The best way to define two dimensional data environment is to first determine what kinds of questions the data representation answers. Direction, location, size, and distance are features that can be effectively illustrated using a 2-D visualization environment. For example, is an object left or right of another object ? How big is New York in comparison to Los Angeles. What places are north of Maryland ? Is Chicago closer to Atlanta or San Fransico ?

A two dimensional visual environment deals with the representation of the data via the interface. A two dimensional visual environment overlaps with other visual environments when trying to classify data types. In reality, all data visualization environments are displayed on a 2-D surface. This may cause applications and projects to be falsely classified as 2-dimensional when in fact, they may be temporal or network. This leads to the confusion between two dimensional data representation and two dimensional data types.

Two dimensional data types deal with the total number of attributes that will be included in the visual environment. Examples are longitude and latitude, width and height, etc. There are times when the data types will not be two dimensional and the environment will be still considered 2-D. Mulit- dimensional and 3 dimensional data can be presented with a 2-D model in some situations. For example, there could be a mapping program that displays the USA. This program may give information about each city that is selected. This could be viewed as multi-dimensional because there are more than two attributes associated with the data. This example should still be viewed as 2-D because the program's main use is distinguishing and relating cities and states, in terms of position and direction to other programs. This slight distinction will be the basis for the deciding what is and is not a two dimensional data type.






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