Visual analytics for geographic analysis, exemplified by different types of movement data
Visual analytics is introduced in the sense of a new research discipline defined as the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. Visual analytics combines automated analysis techniques with interactive visualizations so as to extend the perceptual and cognitive abilities of humans and enable them to extract useful information and derive knowledge from large and complex data, and to solve complex problems. In particular, data and problems involving geospatial components are inherently complex and therefore call for Visual analytics approaches. The problems of analyzing data about movement of various discrete objects in geographical space are discussed in detail. The paper considers three types of movement data: data describing movements of a single entity during a long time period, data about simultaneous movements of multiple unrelated entities, and data about simultaneous movements or multiple related entities. The pertinent analysis tasks significantly differ for these types of data. For each type of data, the Visual analytics techniques and tools lately developed by the authors are briefly described.