We pesent a visual analytics solution designed to address prevalent issues in the area of Operational Decision Management (ODM). In ODM, which has its roots in Artificial Intelligence (Expert Systems) and Management Science, it is increasingly important to align business decisions with business goals. In our work, we consider decision models (executable models of the business domain) as ontologies that describe the business domain, and production rules that describe the business logic of decisions to be made over this ontology. Executing a decision model produces an accumulation of decisions made over time for individual cases. We are interested, first, to get insight in the decision logic and the accumulated facts by themselves. Secondly and more importantly, we want to see how the accumulated facts reveal potential divergences between the reality as captured by the decision model, and the reality as captured by the executed decisions. We illustrate the motivation, added value for visual analytics, and our proposed solution and tooling through a business case from the car insurance industry.
For preserving the grotto wall paintings and protecting these historic cultural icons from the damage and deterioration in nature environment, a visual analytics framework and a set of tools are proposed for the discovery of degradation patterns. In comparison with the traditional analysis methods that used restricted scales, our method provides users with multi-scale analytic support to study the problems on site, cave, wall and particular degradation area scales, through the application of multidimensional visualization techniques. Several case studies have been carried out using real-world wall painting data collected from a renowned World Heritage site, to verify the usability and effectiveness of the proposed method. User studies and expert reviews were also conducted through by domain experts ranging from scientists such as microenvironment researchers, archivists, geologists, chemists, to practitioners such as conservators, restorers and curators.
Topic modeling has been widely used for analyzing text document collections. Recently, there have been significant advancements in various topic modeling techniques, particularly in the form of probabilistic graphical modeling. State-of-the-art techniques such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) have been successfully applied in visual text analytics. However, most of the widely-used methods based on probabilistic modeling have drawbacks in terms of consistency from multiple runs and empirical convergence. Furthermore, due to the complicatedness in the formulation and the algorithm, LDA cannot easily incorporate various types of user feedback. To tackle this problem, we propose a reliable and flexible visual analytics system for topic modeling called UTOPIAN (User-driven Topic modeling based on Interactive Nonnegative Matrix Factorization). Centered around its semi-supervised formulation, UTOPIAN enables users to interact with the topic modeling method and steer the result in a user-driven manner. We demonstrate the capability of UTOPIAN via several usage scenarios with real-world document corpuses such as InfoVis/VAST paper data set and product review data sets.
Analyzing large textual collections has become increasingly challenging given the size of the data available and the rate that more data is being generated. Topic-based text summarization methods coupled with interactive visualizations have presented promising approaches to address the challenge of analyzing large text corpora. As the text corpora and vocabulary grow larger, more topics need to be generated in order to capture the meaningful latent themes and nuances in the corpora. However, it is difficult for most of current topic-based visualizations to represent large number of topics without being cluttered or illegible. To facilitate the representation and navigation of a large number of topics, we propose a visual analytics system - HierarchicalTopic (HT). HT integrates a computational algorithm, Topic Rose Tree, with an interactive visual interface. The Topic Rose Tree constructs a topic hierarchy based on a list of topics. The interactive visual interface is designed to present the topic content as well as temporal evolution of topics in a hierarchical fashion. User interactions are provided for users to make changes to the topic hierarchy based on their mental model of the topic space. To qualitatively evaluate HT, we present a case study that showcases how HierarchicalTopics aid expert users in making sense of a large number of topics and discovering interesting patterns of topic groups. We have also conducted a user study to quantitatively evaluate the effect of hierarchical topic structure. The study results reveal that the HT leads to faster identification of large number of relevant topics. We have also solicited user feedback during the experiments and incorporated some suggestions into the current version of HierarchicalTopics.
How do various topics compete for public attention when they are spreading on social media? What roles do opinion leaders play in the rise and fall of competitiveness of various topics? In this study, we propose an expanded topic competition model to characterize the competition for public attention on multiple topics promoted by various opinion leaders on social media. To allow an intuitive understanding of the estimated measures, we present a timeline visualization through a metaphoric interpretation of the results. The visual design features both topical and social aspects of the information diffusion process by compositing ThemeRiver with storyline style visualization. ThemeRiver shows the increase and decrease of competitiveness of each topic. Opinion leaders are drawn as threads that converge or diverge with regard to their roles in influencing the public agenda change over time. To validate the effectiveness of the visual analysis techniques, we report the insights gained on two collections of Tweets: the 2012 United States presidential election and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The number of microblog posts published daily has reached a level that hampers the effective retrieval of relevant messages, and the amount of information conveyed through services such as Twitter is still increasing. Analysts require new methods for monitoring their topic of interest, dealing with the data volume and its dynamic nature. It is of particular importance to provide situational awareness for decision making in time-critical tasks. Current tools for monitoring microblogs typically filter messages based on user-defined keyword queries and metadata restrictions. Used on their own, such methods can have drawbacks with respect to filter accuracy and adaptability to changes in trends and topic structure. We suggest ScatterBlogs2, a new approach to let analysts build task-tailored message filters in an interactive and visual manner based on recorded messages of well-understood previous events. These message filters include supervised classification and query creation backed by the statistical distribution of terms and their co-occurrences. The created filter methods can be orchestrated and adapted afterwards for interactive, visual real-time monitoring and analysis of microblog feeds. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach for analyzing the Twitter stream in emergency management scenarios.
Social network analysis (SNA) is becoming increasingly concerned not only with actors and their relations, but also with distinguishing between different types of such entities. For example, social scientists may want to investigate asymmetric relations in organizations with strict chains of command, or incorporate non-actors such as conferences and projects when analyzing coauthorship patterns. Multimodal social networks are those where actors and relations belong to different types, or modes, and multimodal social network analysis (mSNA) is accordingly SNA for such networks. In this paper, we present a design study that we conducted with several social scientist collaborators on how to support mSNA using visual analytics tools. Based on an openended, formative design process, we devised a visual representation called parallel node-link bands (PNLBs) that splits modes into separate bands and renders connections between adjacent ones, similar to the list view in Jigsaw. We then used the tool in a qualitative evaluation involving five social scientists whose feedback informed a second design phase that incorporated additional network metrics. Finally, we conducted a second qualitative evaluation with our social scientist collaborators that provided further insights on the utility of the PNLBs representation and the potential of visual analytics for mSNA.
This paper introduces an approach to exploration and discovery in high-dimensional data that incorporates a userﾕs knowledge and questions to craft sets of projection functions meaningful to them. Unlike most prior work that defines projections based on their statistical properties, our approach creates projection functions that align with user-specified annotations. Therefore, the resulting derived dimensions represent concepts defined by the userﾕs examples. These especially crafted projection functions, or explainers, can help find and explain relationships between the data variables and user-designated concepts. They can organize the data according to these concepts. Sets of explainers can provide multiple perspectives on the data. Our approach considers tradeoffs in choosing these projection functions, including their simplicity, expressive power, alignment with prior knowledge, and diversity. We provide techniques for creating collections of explainers. The methods, based on machine learning optimization frameworks, allow exploring the tradeoffs. We demonstrate our approach on model problems and applications in text analysis.
When high-dimensional data is visualized in a 2D plane by using parametric projection algorithms, users may wish to manipulate the layout of the data points to better reflect their domain knowledge or to explore alternative structures. However, few users are well-versed in the algorithms behind the visualizations, making parameter tweaking more of a guessing game than a series of decisive interactions. Translating user interactions into algorithmic input is a key component of Visual to Parametric Interaction (V2PI) . Instead of adjusting parameters, users directly move data points on the screen, which then updates the underlying statistical model. However, we have found that some data points that are not moved by the user are just as important in the interactions as the data points that are moved. Users frequently move some data points with respect to some other ﾒunmovedﾓ data points that they consider as spatially contextual. However, in current V2PI interactions, these points are not explicitly identified when directly manipulating the moved points. We design a richer set of interactions that makes this context more explicit, and a new algorithm and sophisticated weighting scheme that incorporates the importance of these unmoved data points into V2PI.
High-dimensional data visualization has been attracting much attention. To fully test related software and algorithms, researchers require a diverse pool of data with known and desired features. Test data do not always provide this, or only partially. Here we propose the paradigm WYDIWYGS (What You Draw Is What You Get). Its embodiment, SketchPadND, is a tool that allows users to generate high-dimensional data in the same interface they also use for visualization. This provides for an immersive and direct data generation activity, and furthermore it also enables users to interactively edit and clean existing high-dimensional data from possible artifacts. SketchPadND offers two visualization paradigms, one based on parallel coordinates and the other based on a relatively new framework using an N-D polygon to navigate in high-dimensional space. The first interface allows users to draw arbitrary profiles of probability density functions along each dimension axis and sketch shapes for data density and connections between adjacent dimensions. The second interface embraces the idea of sculpting. Users can carve data at arbitrary orientations and refine them wherever necessary. This guarantees that the data generated is truly high-dimensional. We demonstrate our toolﾕs usefulness in real data visualization scenarios.
Visual exploration and analysis of multidimensional data becomes increasingly difficult with increasing dimensionality. We want to understand the relationships between dimensions of data, but lack flexible techniques for exploration beyond low-order relationships. Current visual techniques for multidimensional data analysis focus on binary conjunctive relationships between dimensions. Recent techniques, such as cross-filtering on an attribute relationship graph, facilitate the exploration of some higher-order conjunctive relationships, but require a great deal of care and precision to do so effectively. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the expressive power of existing visual querying systems and describes a more flexible approach in which users can explore n-ary conjunctive inter- and intra- dimensional relationships by interactively constructing queries as visual hypergraphs. In a hypergraph query, nodes represent subsets of values and hyperedges represent conjunctive relationships. Analysts can dynamically build and modify the query using sequences of simple interactions. The hypergraph serves not only as a query specification, but also as a compact visual representation of the interactive state. Using examples from several domains, focusing on the digital humanities, we describe the design considerations for developing the querying system and incorporating it into visual analysis tools. We analyze query expressiveness with regard to the kinds of questions it can and cannot pose, and describe how it simultaneously expands the expressiveness of and is complemented by cross-filtering.
Many datasets, such as scientific literature collections, contain multiple heterogeneous facets which derive implicit relations, as well as explicit relational references between data items. The exploration of this data is challenging not only because of large data scales but also the complexity of resource structures and semantics. In this paper, we present PivotSlice, an interactive visualization technique which provides efficient faceted browsing as well as flexible capabilities to discover data relationships. With the metaphor of direct manipulation, PivotSlice allows the user to visually and logically construct a series of dynamic queries over the data, based on a multi-focus and multi-scale tabular view that subdivides the entire dataset into several meaningful parts with customized semantics. PivotSlice further facilitates the visual exploration and sensemaking process through features including live search and integration of online data, graphical interaction histories and smoothly animated visual state transitions. We evaluated PivotSlice through a qualitative lab study with university researchers and report the findings from our observations and interviews. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of PivotSlice using a scenario of exploring a repository of information visualization literature.
Scientists, engineers, and analysts are confronted with ever larger and more complex sets of data, whose analysis poses special challenges. In many situations it is necessary to compare two or more datasets. Hence there is a need for comparative visualization tools to help analyze differences or similarities among datasets. In this paper an approach for comparative visualization for sets of images is presented. Well-established techniques for comparing images frequently place them side-by-side. A major drawback of such approaches is that they do not scale well. Other image comparison methods encode differences in images by abstract parameters like color. In this case information about the underlying image data gets lost. This paper introduces a new method for visualizing differences and similarities in large sets of images which preserves contextual information, but also allows the detailed analysis of subtle variations. Our approach identifies local changes and applies cluster analysis techniques to embed them in a hierarchy. The results of this process are then presented in an interactive web application which allows users to rapidly explore the space of differences and drill-down on particular features. We demonstrate the flexibility of our approach by applying it to multiple distinct domains.
Spectral clustering is a powerful and versatile technique, whose broad range of applications includes 3D image analysis. However, its practical use often involves a tedious and time-consuming process of tuning parameters and making application-specific choices. In the absence of training data with labeled clusters, help from a human analyst is required to decide the number of clusters, to determine whether hierarchical clustering is needed, and to define the appropriate distance measures, parameters of the underlying graph, and type of graph Laplacian. We propose to simplify this process via an open-box approach, in which an interactive system visualizes the involved mathematical quantities, suggests parameter values, and provides immediate feedback to support the required decisions. Our framework focuses on applications in 3D image analysis, and links the abstract high-dimensional feature space used in spectral clustering to the three-dimensional data space. This provides a better understanding of the technique, and helps the analyst predict how well specific parameter settings will generalize to similar tasks. In addition, our system supports filtering outliers and labeling the final clusters in such a way that user actions can be recorded and transferred to different data in which the same structures are to be found. Our system supports a wide range of inputs, including triangular meshes, regular grids, and point clouds. We use our system to develop segmentation protocols in chest CT and brain MRI that are then successfully applied to other datasets in an automated manner.
Traditional sketch-based image or video search systems rely on machine learning concepts as their core technology. However, in many applications, machine learning alone is impractical since videos may not be semantically annotated sufficiently, there may be a lack of suitable training data, and the search requirements of the user may frequently change for different tasks. In this work, we develop a visual analytics systems that overcomes the shortcomings of the traditional approach. We make use of a sketch-based interface to enable users to specify search requirement in a flexible manner without depending on semantic annotation. We employ active machine learning to train different analytical models for different types of search requirements. We use visualization to facilitate knowledge discovery at the different stages of visual analytics. This includes visualizing the parameter space of the trained model, visualizing the search space to support interactive browsing, visualizing candidature search results to support rapid interaction for active learning while minimizing watching videos, and visualizing aggregated information of the search results. We demonstrate the system for searching spatiotemporal attributes from sports video to identify key instances of the team and player performance.
We propose a novel video visual analytics system for interactive exploration of surveillance video data. Our approach consists of providing analysts with various views of information related to moving objects in a video. To do this we first extract each objectﾕs movement path. We visualize each movement by (a) creating a single action shot image (a still image that coalesces multiple frames), (b) plotting its trajectory in a space-time cube and (c) displaying an overall timeline view of all the movements. The action shots provide a still view of the moving object while the path view presents movement properties such as speed and location. We also provide tools for spatial and temporal filtering based on regions of interest. This allows analysts to filter out large amounts of movement activities while the action shot representation summarizes the content of each movement. We incorporated this multi-part visual representation of moving objects in sViSIT, a tool to facilitate browsing through the video content by interactive querying and retrieval of data. Based on our interaction with security personnel who routinely interact with surveillance video data, we identified some of the most common tasks performed. This resulted in designing a user study to measure time-to-completion of the various tasks. These generally required searching for specific events of interest (targets) in videos. Fourteen different tasks were designed and a total of 120 min of surveillance video were recorded (indoor and outdoor locations recording movements of people and vehicles). The time-to-completion of these tasks were compared against a manual fast forward video browsing guided with movement detection. We demonstrate how our system can facilitate lengthy video exploration and significantly reduce browsing time to find events of interest. Reports from expert users identify positive aspects of our approach which we summarize in our recommendations for future video visual analytics systems.
We introduce a visual analytics method to analyze eye movement data recorded for dynamic stimuli such as video or animated graphics. The focus lies on the analysis of data of several viewers to identify trends in the general viewing behavior, including time sequences of attentional synchrony and objects with strong attentional focus. By using a space-time cube visualization in combination with clustering, the dynamic stimuli and associated eye gazes can be analyzed in a static 3D representation. Shotbased, spatiotemporal clustering of the data generates potential areas of interest that can be filtered interactively. We also facilitate data drill-down: the gaze points are shown with density-based color mapping and individual scan paths as lines in the space-time cube. The analytical process is supported by multiple coordinated views that allow the user to focus on different aspects of spatial and temporal information in eye gaze data. Common eye-tracking visualization techniques are extended to incorporate the spatiotemporal characteristics of the data. For example, heat maps are extended to motion-compensated heat maps and trajectories of scan paths are included in the space-time visualization. Our visual analytics approach is assessed in a qualitative users study with expert users, which showed the usefulness of the approach and uncovered that the experts applied different analysis strategies supported by the system.
We describe and demonstrate an extensible framework that supports data exploration and provenance in the context of Human Terrain Analysis (HTA). Working closely with defence analysts we extract requirements and a list of features that characterise data analysed at the end of the HTA chain. From these, we select an appropriate non-classified data source with analogous features, and model it as a set of facets. We develop ProveML, an XML-based extension of the Open Provenance Model, using these facets and augment it with the structures necessary to record the provenance of data, analytical process and interpretations. Through an iterative process, we develop and refine a prototype system for Human Terrain Visual Analytics (HTVA), and demonstrate means of storing, browsing and recalling analytical provenance and process through analytic bookmarks in ProveML. We show how these bookmarks can be combined to form narratives that link back to the live data. Throughout the process, we demonstrate that through structured workshops, rapid prototyping and structured communication with intelligence analysts we are able to establish requirements, and design schema, techniques and tools that meet the requirements of the intelligence community. We use the needs and reactions of defence analysts in defining and steering the methods to validate the framework.
As increasing volumes of urban data are captured and become available, new opportunities arise for data-driven analysis that can lead to improvements in the lives of citizens through evidence-based decision making and policies. In this paper, we focus on a particularly important urban data set: taxi trips. Taxis are valuable sensors and information associated with taxi trips can provide unprecedented insight into many different aspects of city life, from economic activity and human behavior to mobility patterns. But analyzing these data presents many challenges. The data are complex, containing geographical and temporal components in addition to multiple variables associated with each trip. Consequently, it is hard to specify exploratory queries and to perform comparative analyses (e.g., compare different regions over time). This problem is compounded due to the size of the dataﾑthere are on average 500,000 taxi trips each day in NYC. We propose a new model that allows users to visually query taxi trips. Besides standard analytics queries, the model supports origin-destination queries that enable the study of mobility across the city. We show that this model is able to express a wide range of spatio-temporal queries, and it is also flexible in that not only can queries be composed but also different aggregations and visual representations can be applied, allowing users to explore and compare results. We have built a scalable system that implements this model which supports interactive response times; makes use of an adaptive level-of-detail rendering strategy to generate clutter-free visualization for large results; and shows hidden details to the users in a summary through the use of overlay heat maps. We present a series of case studies motivated by traffic engineers and economists that show how our model and system enable domain experts to perform tasks that were previously unattainable for them.
In this work, we present an interactive system for visual analysis of urban traffic congestion based on GPS trajectories. For these trajectories we develop strategies to extract and derive traffic jam information. After cleaning the trajectories, they are matched to a road network. Subsequently, traffic speed on each road segment is computed and traffic jam events are automatically detected. Spatially and temporally related events are concatenated in, so-called, traffic jam propagation graphs. These graphs form a high-level description of a traffic jam and its propagation in time and space. Our system provides multiple views for visually exploring and analyzing the traffic condition of a large city as a whole, on the level of propagation graphs, and on road segment level. Case studies with 24 days of taxi GPS trajectories collected in Beijing demonstrate the effectiveness of our system.
We suggest a methodology for analyzing movement behaviors of individuals moving in a group. Group movement is analyzed at two levels of granularity: the group as a whole and the individuals it comprises. For analyzing the relative positions and movements of the individuals with respect to the rest of the group, we apply space transformation, in which the trajectories of the individuals are converted from geographical space to an abstract ﾒgroup spaceﾓ. The group space reference system is defined by both the position of the group center, which is taken as the coordinate origin, and the direction of the group's movement. Based on the individualsﾕ positions mapped onto the group space, we can compare the behaviors of different individuals, determine their roles and/or ranks within the groups, and, possibly, understand how group movement is organized. The utility of the methodology has been evaluated by applying it to a set of real data concerning movements of wild social animals and discussing the results with experts in animal ethology.
We propose a novel approach of distance-based spatial clustering and contribute a heuristic computation of input parameters for guiding users in the search of interesting cluster constellations. We thereby combine computational geometry with interactive visualization into one coherent framework. Our approach entails displaying the results of the heuristics to users, as shown in Figure 1, providing a setting from which to start the exploration and data analysis. Addition interaction capabilities are available containing visual feedback for exploring further clustering options and is able to cope with noise in the data. We evaluate, and show the benefits of our approach on a sophisticated artificial dataset and demonstrate its usefulness on real-world data.
Maintaining an awareness of collaboratorsﾕ actions is critical during collaborative work, including during collaborative visualization activities. Particularly when collaborators are located at a distance, it is important to know what everyone is working on in order to avoid duplication of effort, share relevant results in a timely manner and build upon each otherﾕs results. Can a personﾕs brushing actions provide an indication of their queries and interests in a data set? Can these actions be revealed to a collaborator without substantially disrupting their own independent work? We designed a study to answer these questions in the context of distributed collaborative visualization of tabular data. Participants in our study worked independently to answer questions about a tabular data set, while simultaneously viewing brushing actions of a fictitious collaborator, shown directly within a shared workspace. We compared three methods of presenting the collaboratorﾕs actions: brushing and linking (i.e. highlighting exactly what the collaborator would see), selection (i.e. showing only a selected item), and persistent selection (i.e. showing only selected items but having them persist for some time). Our results demonstrated that persistent selection enabled some awareness of the collaboratorﾕs activities while causing minimal interference with independent work. Other techniques were less effective at providing awareness, and brushing and linking caused substantial interference. These findings suggest promise for the idea of exploiting natural brushing actions to provide awareness in collaborative work.
We present a system that lets analysts use paid crowd workers to explore data sets and helps analysts interactively examine and build upon workersﾕ insights. We take advantage of the fact that, for many types of data, independent crowd workers can readily perform basic analysis tasks like examining views and generating explanations for trends and patterns. However, workers operating in parallel can often generate redundant explanations. Moreover, because workers have different competencies and domain knowledge, some responses are likely to be more plausible than others. To efficiently utilize the crowdﾕs work, analysts must be able to quickly identify and consolidate redundant responses and determine which explanations are the most plausible. In this paper, we demonstrate several crowd-assisted techniques to help analysts make better use of crowdsourced explanations: (1) We explore crowd-assisted strategies that utilize multiple workers to detect redundant explanations. We introduce color clustering with representative selectionﾑa strategy in which multiple workers cluster explanations and we automatically select the most-representative resultﾑand show that it generates clusterings that are as good as those produced by experts. (2) We capture explanation provenance by introducing highlighting tasks and capturing workersﾕ browsing behavior via an embedded web browser, and refine that provenance information via source-review tasks. We expose this information in an explanation-management interface that allows analysts to interactively filter and sort responses, select the most plausible explanations, and decide which to explore further.
Spatial organization has been proposed as a compelling approach to externalizing the sensemaking process. However, there are two ways in which space can be provided to the user: by creating a physical workspace that the user can interact with directly, such as can be provided by a large, high-resolution display, or through the use of a virtual workspace that the user navigates using virtual navigation techniques such as zoom and pan. In this study we explicitly examined the use of spatial sensemaking techniques within these two environments. The results demonstrate that these two approaches to providing sensemaking space are not equivalent, and that the greater embodiment afforded by the physical workspace changes how the space is perceived and used, leading to increased externalization of the sensemaking process.
This research aims to develop design guidelines for systems that support investigators and analysts in the exploration and assembly of evidence and inferences. We focus here on the problem of identifying candidate ﾔinfluencersﾕ within a community of practice. To better understand this problem and its related cognitive and interaction needs, we conducted a user study using a system called INVISQUE (INteractive Visual Search and QUery Environment) loaded with content from the ACM Digital Library. INVISQUE supports search and manipulation of results over a freeform infinite ﾔcanvasﾕ. The study focuses on the representations user create and their reasoning process. It also draws on some pre-established theories and frameworks related to sense-making and cognitive work in general, which we apply as a ﾔtheoretical lensesﾕ to consider findings and articulate solutions. Analysing the user-study data in the light of these provides some understanding of how the high-level problem of identifying key players within a domain can translate into lower-level questions and interactions. This, in turn, has informed our understanding of representation and functionality needs at a level of description which abstracts away from the specifics of the problem at hand to the class of problems of interest. We consider the study outcomes from the perspective of implications for design.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have emerged as a cost-effective data source for conducting medical research. The difficulty in using EHRs for research purposes, however, is that both patient selection and record analysis must be conducted across very large, and typically very noisy datasets. Our previous work introduced EventFlow, a visualization tool that transforms an entire dataset of temporal event records into an aggregated display, allowing researchers to analyze population-level patterns and trends. As datasets become larger and more varied, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide a succinct, summarizing display. This paper presents a series of user-driven data simplifications that allow researchers to pare event records down to their core elements. Furthermore, we present a novel metric for measuring visual complexity, and a language for codifying disjoint strategies into an overarching simplification framework. These simplifications were used by real-world researchers to gain new and valuable insights from initially overwhelming datasets.
Model selection in time series analysis is a challenging task for domain experts in many application areas such as epidemiology, economy, or environmental sciences. The methodology used for this task demands a close combination of human judgement and automated computation. However, statistical software tools do not adequately support this combination through interactive visual interfaces. We propose a Visual Analytics process to guide domain experts in this task. For this purpose, we developed the TiMoVA prototype that implements this process based on user stories and iterative expert feedback on user experience. The prototype was evaluated by usage scenarios with an example dataset from epidemiology and interviews with two external domain experts in statistics. The insights from the expertsﾕ feedback and the usage scenarios show that TiMoVA is able to support domain experts in model selection tasks through interactive visual interfaces with short feedback cycles.
Time-oriented data play an essential role in many Visual Analytics scenarios such as extracting medical insights from collections of electronic health records or identifying emerging problems and vulnerabilities in network traffic. However, many software libraries for Visual Analytics treat time as a flat numerical data type and insufficiently tackle the complexity of the time domain such as calendar granularities and intervals. Therefore, developers of advanced Visual Analytics designs need to implement temporal foundations in their application code over and over again. We present TimeBench, a software library that provides foundational data structures and algorithms for time-oriented data in Visual Analytics. Its expressiveness and developer accessibility have been evaluated through application examples demonstrating a variety of challenges with time-oriented data and long-term developer studies conducted in the scope of research and student projects.
We present MotionExplorer, an exploratory search and analysis system for sequences of human motion in large motion capture data collections. This special type of multivariate time series data is relevant in many research fields including medicine, sports and animation. Key tasks in working with motion data include analysis of motion states and transitions, and synthesis of motion vectors by interpolation and combination. In the practice of research and application of human motion data, challenges exist in providing visual summaries and drill-down functionality for handling large motion data collections. We find that this domain can benefit from appropriate visual retrieval and analysis support to handle these tasks in presence of large motion data. To address this need, we developed MotionExplorer together with domain experts as an exploratory search system based on interactive aggregation and visualization of motion states as a basis for data navigation, exploration, and search. Based on an overview-first type visualization, users are able to search for interesting sub-sequences of motion based on a query-by-example metaphor, and explore search results by details on demand. We developed MotionExplorer in close collaboration with the targeted users who are researchers working on human motion synthesis and analysis, including a summative field study. Additionally, we conducted a laboratory design study to substantially improve MotionExplorer towards an intuitive, usable and robust design. MotionExplorer enables the search in human motion capture data with only a few mouse clicks. The researchers unanimously confirm that the system can efficiently support their work.
The visual analysis of dynamic networks is a challenging task. In this paper, we introduce a new approach supporting the discovery of substructures sharing a similar trend over time by combining computation, visualization and interaction. With existing techniques, their discovery would be a tedious endeavor because of the number of nodes, edges as well as time points to be compared. First, on the basis of the supergraph, we therefore group nodes and edges according to their associated attributes that are changing over time. Second, the supergraph is visualized to provide an overview of the groups of nodes and edges with similar behavior over time in terms of their associated attributes. Third, we provide specific interactions to explore and refine the temporal clustering, allowing the user to further steer the analysis of the dynamic network. We demonstrate our approach by the visual analysis of a large wireless mesh network.