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1. Rationale for a WWW-based visualization service

In recent years visualization has rapidly evolved. A variety of visualization techniques has been developed and implemented. A number of general purpose visualization systems provide good support for users of visualization as a tool for their daily work. Such systems usually comprise a suite of the most popular visualization methods. As new and advanced visualization techniques are being developed they are obviously not implemented in every visualization package. Indeed the scope of a given system is usually quite limited. Some systems try to overcome this dilemma by using a modular architecture which allows the user to extend the system at his own needs. For example, a large number of additional modules have been created for the AVS-system over the years by AVS users and many of these modules are even available in the public domain for others to use [6]. The AVS approach is quite successful, but the availability of visualization methods to the general public still remains limited since an AVS licence is required and certain hardware restrictions apply.