Visualization in virtual reality: a systematic review

Korkut E. H., Sürer E.

VIRTUAL REALITY, vol.0, no.0, pp.1-34, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 0 Issue: 0
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10055-023-00753-8
  • Journal Name: VIRTUAL REALITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Applied Science & Technology Source, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-34
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Rapidly growing virtual reality (VR) technologies and techniques have gained importance over the past few years, and academics and practitioners have been searching for efficient visualizations in VR. To date, the emphasis has been on the employment of game technologies. Despite the growing interest and potential, visualization studies have lacked a common baseline in the transition period of 2D visualizations to immersive ones. To this end, the presented study aims to provide a systematic literature review that explains the state-of-the-art research and future trends in visualization in virtual reality. The research framework is grounded in empirical and theoretical works of visualization. We characterize the reviewed literature based on three dimensions: (a) Connection with visualization background and theory, (b) Evaluation and design considerations for virtual reality visualization, and (c) Empirical studies. The results from this systematic review suggest that: (1) There are only a few studies that focus on creating standard guidelines for virtual reality, and each study individually provides a framework or employs previous studies on traditional 2D visualizations; (2) With the myriad of advantages provided for visualization and virtual reality, most of the studies prefer to use game engines; (3) Although game engines are extensively used, they are not convenient for critical scientific studies; and (4) 3D versions of traditional statistical visualization techniques, such as bar plots and scatter plots, are still commonly used in the data visualization context. This systematic review attempts to add a clear picture of the emerging contexts, different elements, and interdependencies to the literature.