Graphing and visualization software presents abstract scientific data visually. Applications process numerical data and create or render images for analysis. Scientists and engineers are some of the main users of graphing and visualization software. Scientists use data visualization software to interface with relational databases, spreadsheets, text or ASCII character files, and binary files to produce mathematical, spatial, and chemical graphs to represent the data. Graphing and visualization software for engineers can use the online analytical processing (OLAP) model. By definition, OLAP software collects quantitative data stored in a relational database system that is accessed and updated by multiple users, and subsequently converts that data into usable information. This information may be represented by bars, graphs, charts, interactive display, or multimedia content. At the core of OLAP applications is the concept of multidimensional views.
Geographic information systems (GIS) is a separate type of graphing and visualization software, mainly because GIS systems represent a multi-billion dollar industry. Makers of GIS software and related products are concerned with using technology to map geographic systems for the purposes of collecting statistical data and using it to solve problems related to geography. For example, some geographical graphing and visualization software is used to determine the best way to disburse emergency fire, medical, and police services in large cities. Other products are used in the design and construction of sewer and power systems. A typical geographical information system can integrate one-to-many datasets into an electronic map, and use a technique known as geoprocessing to collate data, apply functions of analysis, and return compiled results that may be written into other datasets. This same data may also be converted to information as the graphing and visualization software creates maps, legends, and statistical tables.
Suppliers of graphing and visualization software are located across the United States and around the world. Typically, they categorize their products by industry. Graphing software is used also used by government agencies and scientific institutes that perform biological, chemical, and mathematical research.