A structural pattern for dealing with the complexity of visualisation system architectures.
Data Modelling and Management
Information visualization application development requires balancing issues of data management, visual mappings, computer graphics, and interaction. Determining the right separation of concerns has serious consequences for the complexity, extensibility, and reusability of software architectures. The Reference Model pattern provides a general template for structuring visualization applications that separates data models, visual models, views, and interactive controls.
Separate data and visual models to enable multiple visualizations of a data source, separate visual models from displays to enable multiple views of a visualization, and use modular controllers to handle user input in a flexible and reusable fashion.
The Reference Model pattern has been widely used and advocated. Both Chi et al’s data state model  and Card et al’s infovis reference model  prescribe the use of this pattern. In their exploration of design choices for architecting visualizations, Tang et al.  also discuss the importance of separating data and visual models. Finally, numerous software frameworks adopt this template of application structure, including Advizor , Improvise , Polaris , , prefuse , and SAS/JMP .
The components are much like those of MVC, and has been characterised as a 'tiered version of MVC, with the model divided into separate abstractions for the data and visual properties.'
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