Extending beyond Static Display

This combination of attributes allows for images to go beyond static display and become truly interactive. By interactive, we mean graphics that allow the user to probe the image and find out additional information based on the user's needs. An animated image, in and of itself, is not interactive. A simple SVG image—for example, of a bar graph—can be made interactive by allowing the user to "see" the numeric data for each bar by moving his or her mouse over it. More complex images such as maps can be made interactive by providing multiple layers of information, which the viewer can select.

Note that because all the information is in the graphic file, this does not require any specialized software or calls to a database or server. Currently, there are free SVG viewer utilities available, and some have been integrated into Web browsers and readers of other file formats.406

404 For a discussion of the SVG standard, see the W3C site at: http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG.

405 We recognize that all data are inanimate and therefore, by definition, dumb. The users of the data, however, are a different story! Therefore, a graphics format that allows users to see more about the data is in some sense "smart."

406 For example, Adobe Corporation provides a free viewer that integrates into popular Web browsers, as well as integrating an SVG viewer into its Adobe Acrobat Reader. Other viewers are available from Corel and Apache. Viewers and utilities are also available from other vendors and as shareware or freeware.

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