Animal Ecology Explorer

Visual interface of the Animal Ecology Explorer showing migrating gulls. On the left side the study and the tracked animals can be selected. A a horizon graph (top) and line chart (bottom) visualize attributes of individuals either over time or cumulated distance. The center depicts two zoom- and pannable map interfaces showing the segmentation of gulls’ migration trajectories resulting in dozens of segments for every trajectory (center left) and clustering of segments with k-means (center right). Note the clearly distinguishable behavior for migration (purple) and for resting (azure with red border).

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The analysis of trajectories has become an important field in geographic visualization since cheap GPS sensors have become commonplace and, in many cases, valuable information can be derived either from the data themselves or their metadata if processed and visualized in the right way. However, showing the “right’” information to highlight dependencies between different measurements remains a challenge, because the technical intricacies of applying a combination of automatic and visual analysis methods prevents the majority of domain experts from analyzing and exploring the full wealth of their movement data.

The Animal Ecology Explorer presents an exploration through enrichment approach, which enables iterative generation of metadata based on exploratory findings and is aimed at enabling domain experts to explore their data beyond traditional means. In particular, the applicability of the proposed approach is demonstrated through a highly interactive visual analytics system that allows for generation of previously unexplored hypotheses and continuous enrichment of the movement data to verify these hypotheses. In addition to visualization components and interaction features, the system includes data enrichment capabilities, e.g. to derive new attributes or to semi-automatically annotate trajectories.

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Funding Note

The research leading to these results has received funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Relevant Publications