Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spotted: Identifying Place Histories from Activity Traces with an Eye to Parameter Impact

Visualizing mobile usage in a specific place. Sounds intriguing... And a bit spooky. 

IEEE TVCG
Events that happened in the past are important for understanding the ongoing processes, predicting future developments, and making informed decisions. Important and/or interesting events tend to attract many people. Some people leave traces of their attendance in the form of computer-processable data, such as records in the databases of mobile phone operators or photos on photo sharing web sites. We developed a suite of visual analytics methods for reconstructing past events from these activity traces. Our tools combine geocomputations, interactive geovisualizations, and statistical methods to enable integrated analysis of the spatial, temporal, and thematic components of the data, including numeric attributes and texts. We also support interactive investigation of the sensitivity of the analysis results to the parameters used in the computations. For this purpose, statistical summaries of computation results obtained with different combinations of parameter values are visualized in a way facilitating comparisons. We demonstrate the utility of our approach on two large real data sets, mobile phone calls in Milano during 9 days and flickr photos made on British Isles during 5 years.