13 - 18 OCTOBER 2013, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA

Bristle Maps: A Multivariate Abstraction Technique for Geovisualization

Authors: 
S. Kim
Authors: 
R. Maciejewski
Authors: 
A. Malik
Authors: 
Y. Jang
Authors: 
D. S. Ebert
Authors: 
T. Isenberg
Abstract: 

We present Bristle Maps, a novel method for the aggregation, abstraction, and stylization of spatiotemporal data that enables multiattribute visualization, exploration, and analysis. This visualization technique supports the display of multidimensional data by providing users with a multiparameter encoding scheme within a single visual encoding paradigm. Given a set of geographically located spatiotemporal events, we approximate the data as a continuous function using kernel density estimation. The density estimation encodes the probability that an event will occur within the space over a given temporal aggregation. These probability values, for one or more set of events, are then encoded into a bristle map. A bristle map consists of a series of straight lines that extend from, and are connected to, linear map elements such as roads, train, subway lines, and so on. These lines vary in length, density, color, orientation, and transparency√Ęcreating the multivariate attribute encoding scheme where event magnitude, change, and uncertainty can be mapped as various bristle parameters. This approach increases the amount of information displayed in a single plot and allows for unique designs for various information schemes. We show the application of our bristle map encoding scheme using categorical spatiotemporal police reports. Our examples demonstrate the use of our technique for visualizing data magnitude, variable comparisons, and a variety of multivariate attribute combinations. To evaluate the effectiveness of our bristle map, we have conducted quantitative and qualitative evaluations in which we compare our bristle map to conventional geovisualization techniques. Our results show that bristle maps are competitive in completion time and accuracy of tasks with various levels of complexity.