Ambient Grids: Maintain Context-Awareness via Aggregated Off-Screen Visualization

Ambient Grids provide contextual information on grids surroudning the main visualization.


When exploring large spatial datasets, zooming and panning interactions often lead to the loss of contextual overview. Existing overview-plus-detail approaches allow users to view context while inspecting details, but they often suffer from distortion or overplotting. In this paper, we present an off-screen visualization method called Ambient Grids that strikes the balance between overview and details by preserving the contextual information as color grids within a designated space around the focal area. In addition, we describe methods to generate Ambient Grids for point data using data aggregation and projection. In a use case, we show the usefulness of our technique in exploring the VAST Challenge 2011 microblog dataset.

Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis)-Short Papers.