Innovations in Visualization

Project Description

Animated Transitions between Radial and Rectilinear Tree Layouts

Many data sets can be hierarchically structured due to the characteristics of the data. These hierarchies lend themselves to be visualized as trees. Different tree visualizations provide different insights into the data. For instance a nested node layout may provide more focus on leaf nodes while a node and edge based layout may more clearly reveal structure. It is increasingly apparent that during complex data analysis, task transitions from one layout style to another may be beneficial. However, while animated transitions have been shown to reduce cognitive load during these layout transitions, very little research has been done on the creation of these transitions.

Some work has been done on radial-to-radial and rectilinear-to-rectilinear transitions; however, this project will consider radial to rectilinear transitions. For this project, given a radial polar-coordinate node-based layout (sunburst) and a rectilinear node and edge layout (cladogram), we will first decide upon how the animated transition will proceed. There are several possibilities such as continual transition and a variety of stepped transitions. Then we will develop the necessary algorithms and implement the selected animations. On satisfactory completion of the animation transitions, the animations will be inserted into a large visualization that is being designed to support biologists in their data analysis processes.