Chapter 20: Navigation of Data

by Eoin Brazil and Mikael Fernström


This chapter explores the navigation of data with regard to auditory display. We navigate the world continuously to search for information and in this chapter we look at how audition can augment our existing human abilities and behaviors for navigation. A number of techniques to presenting navigable data spaces and how to design their mappings are investigated.

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Download the chapter: TheSonificationHandbook-chapter20 (PDF, 1.9M)

Media Examples

Example S20.1: Virtual Geiger Counter
This mapping using the count of a property to control the click rate, so the more of the property the higher the click rate.

media file S20.1
download: SHB-S20.1 (mp4, 6M)
source: Stephen Barrass, rendered sound.

Example S20.2: SWAN video VR demo
This demonstration uses both auditory icons and earcons as audio beacons that were spatialized using a generalized Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF). This example uses a sonar pulse (“ping”) sound where the number of pings changed depending on the distance to the next landmark.

media file S20.2
download: SHB-S20.2 (mp4, 7.8M)
source: Bruce Walker, video.

Example S20.3: Sonified Weather Forecast: a summer storm
This radio weather report sonification mapped a 9-dimensional weather vector including information on wind speed, wind direction, temperature, cloudiness, rainfall and humidity to summarize the daily weather report into a short audio clip.

media file S20.3
download: SHB-S20.3 (mp3, 241k)
source: Thomas Hermann, rendered sound

Example S20.4: nepTune demo
This 2.5D auditory display coupled a visualization of a topographical map with song islands to the virtual position of the user. The user would hear the pieces of music closest to their position where the land or islands had been generated using audio analysis and corresponded to clusters of similar music.

media file S20.4
download: SHB-S20.4 (mp4, 50.4M)
source: Peter Knees, Markus Schedl, Tim Pohle, and Gerhard Widmer, video

Example S20.5: Sonic Browser
The Sonic Browser used the idea that people hear multiple simultaneous sounds concurrently so it utilised the idea of an aura. This allowed for the navigation of a 2D space representing a large audio collection.

media file S20.5
download: SHB-S20.5 (mp3, 418k)
source: Eoin Brazil, Mikael Fernström, rendered sound

Example S20.6: Sound Torch
The Sound Torch interface was based on a similar idea to the Sonic Browser and used an aura/torch to focus on the sound within a 2D representative space.

media file S20.6
download: SHB-S20.6 (mp4, 12.3M)
source: Sebastian Heise, Michael Hlatky, Jorn Loviscach, video.

Example S20.7: cocktail
This navigation metaphor utilised the cocktail party effect to display information about undersea drilling sites. It used three levels of spatial distance (near, medium and far) to represent the oxygen isotope value with the drink name representing a specific drill site.

media file S20.7
download: SHB-S20.7 (mp3, 722k)
source: Stephen Barrass, rendered sound

Example S20.8: EEG Rhythm
This work uses sonified rhythmic activity to represent epileptic seizures as measured by human EEG recordings. It is an event-based sonification of time series from electrode F4 (left channel, fundamental frequency 100 Hz) and T4 (right channel, ff 150 Hz) during absence seizure. It uses a 6-fold reduction of speed compared to real-time.

media file S20.8
download: SHB-S20.8 (mp3, 393k)
source: Thomas Hermann, rendered sound

Example S20.9: Election result sonification / wahlgesänge
The results of 542 communities in the 2005 provincial parliamentary election in Austria. The mapping using a higher tone to represent a higher result for a particular chosen party. This mapping focused on one party at a time and their results across the country of Austria.

media file S20.9
download: SHB-S20.9 (mp3, 435k)
source: Dayé, Christian and Alberto de Campo, rendered sound