VisualEyes logo

VisualEyes screenshot

VisualEyes is web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations. Click on the image above to watch a short screen-cast about VisualEyes.

VisualEyes enables scholars to present selected primary source materials and research findings while encouraging active inquiry and hands-on learning among general and targeted audiences. It communicates through the use of dynamic displays – or "visualizations" – that organize and present meaningful information in both traditional and multimedia formats, such as audio-video, animation, charts, maps, data, and interactive timelines. The effective use of the visualizations can reveal and illuminate relationships between multiple kinds of information across time and space far more effectively than words alone.

This project was started at the Virginia Center for Digital History and is partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities with continued support from the University of Virginia's Sciences, Humanities & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI). VisualEyes is freely available for academic and non-profit use.

Some new SHANTI tools...


SHANTI's new Interactive Visualization Application makes it easy to create interactive visualizations and uses the HTML5 web standard.

Click here for SHIVA


We think of Qmedia as video, outside of the box, adding context with images, webapps, 3D, and assessments to support the the video's narrative.

Click here for Qmedia


 MapScholar is an NEH-funded tool for using creating visual narratives using historical maps, choropleths, media, and other visualization techniques.

click here for MapScholar

Some projects made using VisualEyes  
Click on image to view project


Jefferson's Travels
to England

A visualization of Thomas Jefferson's
1786 trip to England


Jefferson's Travels while in
London in 1786

  Appraisal map
Querying of
property appraisals

Vinegar Hill:
Visualization of a 1960's
urban renewal




Notes on the
Future of Virginia
The letters between
Jefferson and Short
by Scot French

A discourse analysis of the
letters (1787-1826)
Mapping of slaveholders
and slaves by county

Texas Slavery

A mapping of
slave ownership
by Andrew Torget




First Library

A visualization of the
1828 University of Virginia
Library and 1895 fire


Mapping the library
in the world
  Lot Map
Parksley lot map
1904 sales

Origins of a
railroad town

Parksley, VA
by Brooks Miles Barnes




The Spaces of
Khacloe Drubling

A visualization on the lives of Tibetan nuns
by Kate Hartmann

Lot Map
Location of the nuns
at 9:15am


Bleak House
The personfication of
slaves over time


The personification
of slaves over time
by Alice Cannon, CVHR




A visualization of
William Faulkner's
fictional county

Lot Map
Faulkner's work
mapped geographically
  Lot Map
New maps
of the empire

New Map
of Empire

Maps from the colonies of early America
by Max Edelson


Flash required:The live visualizations require Adobe's Flash plug-in v9 or later.
You can download it for free here:

Other VisualEyes projects

Morven Farm
A visual cultural landscape report on Morven Farm
Hagley Museum
A visualization of the Dupont Company's gunpowder works on the Brandywine river 1804-1842
Jefferson's Travels to Poplar Forest
Thomas Jefferson's travels to his retirement home
The life of James Smithson
A look at Smithsonian benefactor James Smithson

More information about VisualEyes


VisEdit: VisualEyes Project Tool
A tool to create projects in VisualEyes
VisualEyes ProjectSampler
Collection of VisualEyes features with expanatory screencasts


VisualEyes Project Guide
How to create projects in VisualEyes
VisualEyes XML Reference
Reference guide to VisualEyes XML structure
VisualEyes GLUE Reference
Reference guide to VisualEyes GLUE scripting
VisualEyes Tutorial
Step-by-step project tutorial by Lisa Rosner/Stockton College
Spreadsheets 101
How to use spreadsheets to organize information for visualization
VisEdit ScreenCast
A 15-minute ScreenCast explaining VisEdit

New visualization book

Interactive Visualization: Insight from inquiry
by Bill Ferster

VisualEyes in the news

NY Tirmes mention 3/22/11
Bill Ferster on NPR's Kojo Nnamdi show 1/12/11
NY Times mention 11/16/10
UVA Today 12/8/09


Bill Ferster, VisualEyes Project Director
Sciences, Humanities & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives
The University of Virginia
bferster - @ -
Twitter: @bferster
+1 (540) 592-7001

Bill Ferster's website

Funded in part by: