The State of the Art of Spatial Interfaces for 3D Visualization

Lonni Besançon, Anders Ynnerman, Daniel F. Keefe, Lingyun Yu, Tobias Isenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We survey the state of the art of spatial interfaces for 3D visualization. Interaction techniques are crucial to data visualization processes and the visualization research community has been calling for more research on interaction for years. Yet, research papers focusing on interaction techniques, in particular for 3D visualization purposes, are not always published in visualization venues, sometimes making it challenging to synthesize the latest interaction and visualization results. We therefore introduce a taxonomy of interaction technique for 3D visualization. The taxonomy is organized along two axes: the primary source of input on the one hand and the visualization task they support on the other hand. Surveying the state of the art allows us to highlight specific challenges and missed opportunities for research in 3D visualization. In particular, we call for additional research in: (1) controlling 3D visualization widgets to help scientists better understand their data, (2) 3D interaction techniques for dissemination, which are under-explored yet show great promise for helping museum and science centers in their mission to share recent knowledge, and (3) developing new measures that move beyond traditional time and errors metrics for evaluating visualizations that include spatial interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-326
Number of pages34
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the NSF (IIS‐1704604) and by MIT/IAS at Linköping University. We wish to thank all our reviewers and editors for their voluntary work and their helpful feedback and comments on several versions of our manuscript. We would like to thank Karin Ivarsson for her help in proof‐reading this manuscript. Finally, we thank all the authors we cited who provided open‐access version of their papers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Computer Graphics Forum published by Eurographics - The European Association for Computer Graphics and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • visualization


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