V-Mail: 3D-Enabled Correspondence About Spatial Data on (Almost) All Your Devices

Jung Who Nam, Tobias Isenberg, Daniel F. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present V-Mail, a framework of cross-platform applications, interactive techniques, and communication protocols for improved multi-person correspondence about spatial 3D datasets. Inspired by the daily use of e-mail, V-Mail seeks to enable a similar style of rapid, multi-person communication accessible on any device; however, it aims to do this in the new context of spatial 3D communication, where limited access to 3D graphics hardware typically prevents such communication. The approach integrates visual data storytelling with data exploration, spatial annotations, and animated transitions. V-Mail 'data stories' are exported in a standard video file format to establish a common baseline level of access on (almost) any device. The V-Mail framework also includes a series of complementary client applications and plugins that enable different degrees of story co-authoring and data exploration, adjusted automatically to match the capabilities of various devices. A lightweight, phone-based V-Mail app makes it possible to annotate data by adding captions to the video. These spatial annotations are then immediately accessible to team members running high-end 3D graphics visualization systems that also include a V-Mail client, implemented as a plugin. Results and evaluation from applying V-Mail to assist communication within an interdisciplinary science team studying Antarctic ice sheets confirm the utility of the asynchronous, cross-platform collaborative framework while also highlighting some current limitations and opportunities for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1853-1867
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Communication
  • human-computer interaction
  • immersive analytics
  • storytelling
  • visualization of scientific 3D data

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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