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Human impact on North Sea

A brand new way to present data in a more readable, visual way has been created by academics at the University of St Andrews.

Human impact on North Sea

Fatfonts works by using more ink for a number the larger its value, therefore higher statistics appear darker – allowing viewers to instantly see where something being measured is at its most dense, in a new, hybrid combination of a graph and a table of figures.

Among the items given the Fatfonts treatment are the topography of Mount Etna on Sicily, and the wave heights of the tsunami which hit Japan in 2011.

Now, the latest image to be created represents the human impact on the North Sea around Scotland, from research taking place at the University’s new Centre for Geoinformatics.

Just one glance allows a viewer to not only see instantly where oil rigs, ports and fishing takes place around the North-east coast, but also to read the actual impact quantities on each location.

The method has been created and pioneered by Dr Miguel Nacenta, lecturer in the School of Computer Science in collaboration with scholars at the University of Calgary, Canada.

Although not everything can be represented in this way, Dr Nacenta believes the method could become popular.

He said: “FatFonts can help represent quantities that need to be both read and visualised as an image, we have found that this is useful for infographics and scientific figures.”

Dr Nacenta recently presented this work at the Advanced Visual Interfaces conference in Capri, Italy.

The School of Computer Science at St Andrews recently ranked 2nd in the UK behind only Cambridge in an independent faculty league table.

Note to Editors

For zoomable image, please contact press office.

Dr Miguel Nacenta is available today on 07950 733 160.


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona MacLeod on 0771 414 0559.
Ref: (fatfonts 09/07/12)
View the University’s latest news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/

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