Visualization through the World Wide Web
with Geomview, Cyberview, W3Kit, and WebOOGL

Tamara Munzner, Paul Burchard, and Ed Chi
The Geometry Center, University of Minnesota


The Geometry Center has integrated its visualization software into the Web at many levels.

Much of our effort is built around Geomview, the Center's extensible mathematical visualization package. It is a public domain 3D viewer which runs on SGI, NeXTStep, and standard X workstations and allows full interactive control of the motion and appearance of multiple objects and cameras. Among its features are full support for non-Euclidean and higher dimensional spaces. At the most basic level of Web integration, Geomview can be run as a local external viewer for 3D scenes just as image viewers are used for 2D images.

Cyberview is a 3D viewer that runs through the Web. Cyberview is essentially a Web front-end for some of the capabilities of Geomview. For instance, clicking on an image in the Cyberview fill-out form sends a request to a specialized version of Geomview running on one the the Geometry Center computers to compute a new image, a rotated view of the 3D object, which our Web server then transmits back to you as part of a new HTML document created on-the-fly. That new document is itself a Cyberview fill-out form, so you can repeat this process. Clicking on an image in a Web browser quasi-interactively positions the 3D object in the same way that using the mouse in an interactive 3D viewer on your local machine would change your point of view. Cyberview is one of a number of 2D and 3D applications in the Geometry Center Interactive Gallery which are built on top of our W3Kit toolkit. While their interactivity is limited by the response time of the Web, these applications address the problems of portability and distribution in a novel way by taking advantage of widely available Web browsers.

Finally, the WebOOGL experiment in 3D distributed hypermedia implements bidirectional communication between Geomview and Mosaic. WebOOGL is an implementation of URL hyperlinks in 3D scenes in the spirit of VRML. Clicking on a WebOOGL hyperlinked object in Geomview can trigger a number of actions: for example, teleporting to a new WebOOGL world in Geomview, opening up a new HTML page in Mosaic, or downloading an image file.

WebOOGL provides a general purpose tool for closely integrating 3D visualization with the Web, and has been used to visualize Webspace itself. An obvious future direction is to embed the the Webspace visualization in hyperbolic space, where there is an exponential "amount of room" a given distance from a point, rather than the quadratic "amount of room" we have at our disposal in Euclidean space.

We are enthusiastic about demonstrating our work and discussing its implications at the Visualization and the World Wide Web panel discussion at WWWF '94.

Tamara Munzner
Senior Technical Staff
The Geometry Center
University of Minnesota
1300 South Second Street, Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 626-8325

Vita for Tamara Munzner

Senior Technical Staff
The Geometry Center
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN


B.S. in Computer Science, June 1991, Stanford University.

Major Projects

Part of team responsible for design, implementation, user interface, documentation, distribution, and maintenance of Geomview/OOGL, a public domain 3D interactive mathematical visualization package.

One of the directors and animators of Outside In, a 22-minute mathematical video about turning a sphere inside out shown in the Siggraph Electronic Theater and Screening Room.

One of the authors of the Triangle Tiling exhibit developed in collaboration between the Geometry Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The exhibit was on display at Siggraph 94 The Edge.

One of the WebOOGL authors.


Andrew Hanson and Tamara Munzner and George Francis, Interactive Methods for Visualizable Geometry, IEEE Computer, 73-83, Vol. 27, No. 4, July 1994.

Mark Phillips and Silvio Levy and Tamara Munzner, Geomview: An Interactive Geometry Viewer, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, Computers and Mathematics Column, 985-988, October 1993.