Cityplot is a new visualization technique for engineering design that uses a dimensionally-reduced representation of the design decisions to represent the mapping from the decisions to the criteria upon which a design is judged. The shown Cityplot depicts possible CubeSat constellations to support the 2007 Earth Science Decadal Survey. Each constellation is comprised of up to 4 CubeSats and each CubeSat can select from a list of 7 instruments. Possible CubeSat constellations are “cities” and are placed in a 2d space to be visualized. An individual constellation can also be seen as a table of instruments (rows) being present (black) on a given CubeSat (columns). The benefits, costs and risks of each possible constellation are represented as color-coded “buildings” in each “city”. The criteria in this example are: a tiered count of satisfied Decadal objectives (blue), the average CubeSat Technology Readiness Level (red), lifecycle cost (green), maximum number of lost instruments upon loss of a single satellite (black). A taller building indicates the possible constellation performs better in that criteria. Dark purple “roads” between two designs indicate that only one instrument is either added to or removed from one CubeSat to make one constellation identical to the other. Cityplot simultaneously shows sensitivity of criteria to decisions, criteria tradeoffs and design families via a quick intuitive view of the design space.
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