Interactive visual summaries for detection and assessment of spatiotemporal patterns in geospatial time series
Originally published as: Koethur, P., Sips, M., Unger, A., Kuhlmann, J., Dransch, D. (2014): Interactive visual summaries for detection and assessment of spatiotemporal patterns in geospatial time series. -Information Visualization, 13, 3, 283-298 Abstract Numerous measurement devices and computer simulations produce geospatial time series that describe a wide variety of processes of System Earth. A major challenge in the analysis of such data is the complexity of the described processes, which
... requires a simultaneous assessment of the data's spatial and temporal variability. To address this task, geoscientists often use automated analyses to compute a compact description of the data, ideally comprising characteristic spatial states of the process under study and their occurrence over time. The results of such automated methods depend on the parameterization, especially the number of extracted spatial states. A particular number of spatial states, however, may only reflect certain spatial or temporal aspects. We introduce a visual analytics approach that overcomes this limitation by allowing users to extract and explore various sets of spatial states to detect characteristic spatiotemporal patterns. To this end, we use the results of hierarchical clustering as a starting point. It groups all time steps of a geospatial time series into a hierarchy of clusters. Users can interactively explore this hierarchy to derive various sets of spatial states. To facilitate detailed inspection of these sets, we employ the concept of interactive visual summaries. A visual summary is the depiction of a set of spatial states and their associated time steps or intervals. It includes interactive means that allow users to assess how well the depicted patterns characterize the original data. Our visual interface comprises a system of visualization components to facilitate both the extraction of sets of spatial states from the hierarchical clustering output and their detailed inspection using interactive visual summaries. This work results from a close collaboration with geoscientists. In an exemplary analysis of observational ocean data, we show how our approach can help geoscientists gain a better understanding of geospatial time series.