For several months I’ve been presenting examples of all kinds of 3D-graphs, generated with the AnRep3D tool. AnRep3D is the name of both our new company and its first product. Actually an abbreviation of Annual Reports shown in 3D-graphs.
Why should we present data from annual reports in a graph? Well, looking at one single annual report is easy. There is assets, liabilities and equity in the balance sheet and from this e.g. the gearing will be clear. And then we have to look at revenue, profit (or loss). It could be the net margin, the gross margin, the EBIT, EBITDA or something else, but we want to know the return on assets or the return on equity. For most investors the “new economy”, looking at burn-rates and being happy with heavy losses is over. Unless they go short on the shares of a company of course. And sometimes, there is the promise of a bright future, of course.
The problem is to fit all the numbers in one simple overview. A series of numbers or a couple of bars in a graph could do, but what if we want to track the company over a longer period? Or worse: if we want to compare two or three companies over a series of years?
That’s where we thought the third dimension would help us. Put the different values in different dimensions and present them as a kind of box. One for every company and every year. So for five companies over three years, we would get fifteen cubes – or “buildings” as we call them because they have a coloured roof, presenting profit (green) or loss (red). Below an example of such a 3D-graph with five companies in two years.
Double-click the screenshot to see the live 3D-graph in your browser. For manipulation: Clicking the right mouse-button, moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out. Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.
To be able to present such a powerful overview, I had to find a solution and at first I used the language well-know in the world of VR (Virtual Reality): VRML. It is powerful indeed, but to view the graphs, people need to install a browser-plugin or viewer – and they just don’t. I moved on and decided WebGL (in HTML5) would be the best option. We had to drop the stereoscopic view for now, but now everybody can watch the 3D-graphs in a browser (although WebGL and Java have to be enabled in the browser, that’s true).
After this I started all over again and created the new generator. To let people experience the power of AnRep3D without paying anything, the free 3D-graph generator package is available (includes a complete manual). You will be able to understand the principle of our 3D-graphs, create them yourself and experiment with them.
By the way: of course the 3D-graphs can be used for other purposes. In a couple of posts I visualised energy-consumption, using the same graphs (part I, part II, part III and part IV). If you have a very good idea, please tell us about it before the end of March 2018 via firstname.lastname@example.org The most creative idea will be rewarded with a free AnRep3D-licence and we will mention them in this blog.