How are data visualization elements linked to underlying data sources in DITA defense documentation?

Data visualization elements in DITA defense documentation are linked to underlying data sources through structured content and specialized DITA elements. Here’s how this linkage is established:

1. Data Integration: DITA allows for the integration of structured data sources, such as XML or JSON, directly into DITA topics. These data sources contain the numerical or textual information needed for creating visualizations. Specialized DITA elements, like <data>, are used to reference or embed these data sources within a DITA topic.

2. Data Mapping: DITA provides the capability to map data elements to visualization elements. For example, data points from the integrated source are mapped to specific chart or graph elements. DITA specialization may be used to define these mappings, ensuring that the data is correctly associated with the visualization elements.

3. Visualization Transformation: Visualization elements within DITA topics are often defined with attributes or tags that reference the underlying data. When the DITA content is processed or rendered, the structured data is utilized to generate the visual representation, such as a chart or graph. This transformation is often achieved through rendering engines that interpret the data mappings and create the graphical output.


Here’s an example that demonstrates how data visualization elements are linked to underlying data sources in DITA defense documentation:

<topic id="performance-visualization">
  <title>Equipment Maintenance Performance</title>
    <p>This line chart illustrates the equipment maintenance performance over the past year, linked to structured data in XML format.</p>
    <chart type="line" data-source="equipment-maintenance.xml">
        <data-point label="January" value="85" />
        <data-point label="February" value="88" />
        <data-point label="March" value="90" />
        <data-point label="April" value="87" />

In this example, the structured data source, “equipment-maintenance.xml,” is linked to the line chart visualization. The <mapping> element defines the relationship between the data points and the chart elements. When processed, this DITA topic will render a line chart based on the data from the XML source.