|One of the big advantages of the SolarPlot over the more conventional histogram charts is that the
SolarPlot naturally provides better feedback on the aggregation level through the circle diameter. In
addition, the SolarPlot is also better at maintaining data encoding context between one level of
aggregation to the next, i.e. 10 degrees always represents 10 years for instance. This, however, is not
true of conventional histograms, where the aggregation level will change the scale in which data is
encoded, i.e. 10 pixels represents a different number of years depending on the level of aggregation.|
Like the SolarPlot, the Aggregate TreeMap also allows interactive aggregation. The Aggregate TreeMap shares many of the advantages of the SolarPlot, likes the ones described above. The Aggregate TreeMap, however, is used to view hierarchical data such as an organizational chart, or a file system. Figure 3 shows my file system hierarchy using an Aggregate TreeMap. The hierarchy is displayed such that the root (in this case my home directory) appears at the center of the circle, and pie slices radiating outwards represent sub-directories and all of their (successively nested) files and sub-directories. Saturation encodes the time at which the files were last modified, i.e. darker color indicates older files and lighter colors indicate more recent files. Hue encodes the amount of aggregation. Highly aggregated areas are more purple, while less aggregated areas are more blue.
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