AstroViz 2018

Jun. 13, 2018 - Jun. 15, 2018

Pasadena, CA

Scope and Themes

The Astroviz workshop aims to bring together leading experts in astronomy visualization from around the world and provide a platform to connect with each other, share expertise and create better ways for collaboration and synergy among our distinct communities. 


Develop/Implement Strategies for Asset Sharing

Finding ways to better share assets between institutions improves the visualization baseline for everyone. One outgrowth of the 2003 viz workshop was the beginnings of the AVM discussion to allow outreach imagery to share a common metadata standard to enable powerful methods of sharing and access. Today the newly-expanded Data2Dome standard expands this to a broad cross section of media types.

The workshop will be a forum for working through the existing standards, establishing a commitment to support them across institutions (which can leverage the participation of other astronomical centers). We can also look to the future and define needed improvements to the standards and tools with which to implement/access them.

Planetarium & Informal Education

Planetariums have provided the longest-running immersive experiences for audiences, and museums have long been the centerpiece for informal education for the public. How visualizations are developed and utilized in immersive experiences has been evolving rapidly in recent years. Understanding the tools of the trade, and what distinguishes shared informal educational experiences in the context of understanding and engagement are key elements to consider.

Immersive VR/AR & Emerging Technologies

There is a widespread interest in adopting new communication technologies like VR & AR for engaging the public in outreach. Immersion need not be limited to the sense of vision; sonification and tactile representations of data are all part of emerging technologies that can reach many audiences. Evaluating these new technologies in the light of metrics from the planetarium/museum communites  can help guide development to more powerful designs.

Share Tools/Techniques

One part of the professional development for the viz community is to see what tools/techniques are used by others to improve one’s own capabilities. This kind of practical hands-on exposure can help raise the bar for everyone.  During this workshop participants will work together to produce a list of strategies/recommendations to facilitate sharing  which will be shared with the broader community.

Open-Source Software Initiatives

A number of software projects have directly addressed astronomy visualization needs (ex: AAS WorldWide Telescope, FITS Liberator, etc).  Do these tools help address core needs for current communications goals? How could they be improved? How can we promote these to the astro dev community? This workshop should address these and other questions. 

Outreach to the Astronomical Community

The importance of quality visualization is increasingly recognized throughout the science community. The workshop will provide an opportunity to strategize on ways the practitioners in the field can share expertise/tools with the science community. 


In the interests of maintaining a strong visualization community moving forward, one outcome will be to draft a white paper on best practices and support for visualization efforts and collaborations moving forward, spanning the themes outlined above.