Statistical software packages are used worldwide for effective data management and appropriate decision-making. Among their many tasks, they perform data capture, charting and analysis. Numerous statistical packages exist, each of which is designated for specific purposes. Hence, the use of many different packages makes the work of statisticians extremely difficult because it is hard and time consuming to switch between applications, not to mention the problem of the homogeneity of results. In order to overcome these problems, an EC funded project used an open architecture interface for developing a prototype environment that allows the visualisation of statistical data processing and analysis by plugging many external statistical modules into the system. Therefore, the system offers a working environment tailored to its user's needs, making a wide range of statistical methodologies and tools available to statisticians in their problematic domains. The system combines a robust visualisation method (Parallel Coordinates) with functionalities for data exploitation for extensive data research and analysis. Either making the best use of existing statistical packages or exploiting the plug-in methods (ActiveX) with external tools, it offers a large diversity of capabilities; from using computational data analysis techniques, such as regression analysis to interactive graphical presentations, such as histograms. Moreover, it facilitates the detailed monitoring of the data analysis procedure with the potential of recording and repeating procedural steps. Four project partners currently use this interactive visualisation system in their routine work. Providing enhanced ease-of-use and flexibility, it is expected that the system will be widely adopted by statistical organisations and authorities in the public and private sector.
Interactive visualisation statistical system
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