Visualizing Data with MATLABMATLAB is a powerful tool for providing students capacity to visualize data from a wide variety of sources and understanding complex systems and for representing complex data. Students can visualize and manipulate data to see how the data behave. Students can also visualize how to model fundamental equations and relationships. In addition to the overarching benefits of MATLAB, MATLAB lends itself to this type of exploration and visualization through:
- flexible and customizable interfaces
- raster and vector data compatability
- map display capabilities
The MATLAB Live Editor provides an interactive and self-contained environment for writing code and creating visualizations. MATLAB Plot Gallery provides examples of many of the ways data can be represented visually in the program.
Approaches to Getting Students Started
When providing pre-written code to students, they can get started right away with visualizing data. A scaffolded lab can provide students with the very basic skills needed to manipulate and explore the data.
- Students can model responses to different scenarios and parameters; they can compare such models to real data.
- Example: Relaxation Method for a real parallel-plate capacitor by Sean Bartz (Macalester College). Students learn to solve Laplace's equation to determine the capacitance of a parallel-plate capacitor and compare this result to measurements done on a real system.
- MATLAB allows students to quickly produce profiles and scatterplots of data.
- Example: Using Univariate Statistics to Understand Regional Drainage Patterns by Peter N. Adams (University of Florida). Students use MATLAB to compare two data sets of organic matter content in order to provide quantitative evidence that tests the null hypothesis that sediment samples have the same fluvial source.
- Students can integrate visualization of their own data with simple models, and play with parameters to obtain match. This can be very powerful to understand which parameters may have the biggest effect on the model.
- Example: Curve Fitting Exercise in MATLAB by Wendy Thomas, (University of Washington). Students program using MATLAB to compare the fit of several models to an experimental data set.
- MATLAB GUI and stand-alone runtime approaches can be used for students to work with models without having to know MATLAB. This first step can also get students curious about programming.
- Example: Visualizing outcrop patterns from strike/dip data using MATLAB by Charly Bank (University of Toronto). Students explore strike-dip outcrop patterns on a map and in 3D.
- Educating Skillful Visualizers
- Teaching Geoscience with Visualizations
- Teaching with Models
- Visualization Tips for Geoscientists: MATLAB (Blog)
- Image processing in MATLAB: tips for Geoscientists (Blog)
- Analyzing and Visualizing Flows in Rivers and Lakes with MATLAB (about the development of Velocity Mapping Toolbox, USGS)
- Analyzing and Visualizing Data with MATLAB from MathWorks
- Join the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Community to discuss ideas and get expert answers.