A Characterization of Data Exchange between Visual Analytics Tools
Over the past years, the visualization of large and complex data sets brought up various Visual Analytics (VA) tools in order to solve domain-specific tasks. These VA tools are typically implemented as individual software components in data-flow-oriented models, meaning that data is transferred from one component to the next. While most VA frameworks rely on a monolithic architecture with features for the integration of specialized analysis methods, we consider a loose coupling of independent applications, where autonomous VA tools are used in predefined analysis sequences. To this end, we provide a characterization of the data exchange process among individual VA tools in the form of a taxonomy. This taxonomy can be used as a checklist to identify characteristics and improve the data flow of one's own multi-tool VA setup. For this purpose, we conducted a systematic investigation of the individual aspects of data exchange that are commonly found across different usage scenarios. We apply our taxonomy to three existing multi-tool frameworks, the open-source library ReVize, the toolchain editor Any Proc, and the visualization and monitoring framework Plant@Hand3D.