Timeline Design Space for Immersive Exploration of Time-Varying Spatial 3D Data

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PubDate: Jun 2022

Teams: hInria, Univ Rennes;PSL Research University

Writers: Gwendal Fouché, Ferran Argelaguet, Emmanuel Faure, Charles Kervrann

PDF: Timeline Design Space for Immersive Exploration of Time-Varying Spatial 3D Data


Timelines are common visualizations to represent and manipulate temporal data, from historical events storytelling to animation authoring. However, timeline visualizations rarely consider spatio-temporal 3D data (e.g. mesh or volumetric models) directly, which are typically explored using 3D visualizers only displaying one time-step at a time. In this paper, leveraging the increased workspace and 3D interaction capabilities of virtual reality, we propose to use timelines for the visualization of 3D temporal data to support exploration and analysis. First, we propose a timeline design space for 3D temporal data extending the timeline design space proposed by Brehmer et al. The proposed design space adapts the scale, layout and representation dimensions to account for the depth dimension and how 3D temporal data can be partitioned and structured. In our approach, an additional dimension is introduced, the support, which further characterizes the 3D dimension of the visualization. To complement the design space and the interaction capabilities of VR systems, we discuss the interaction methods required for the efficient visualization of 3D timelines. Then, to evaluate the benefits of 3D timelines, we conducted a formal evaluation with two main objectives: comparing the proposed visualization with a traditional visualization method; exploring how users interact with different 3D timeline designs. Our results showed that time-related tasks can be achieved more comfortably using timelines, and more efficiently for specific tasks requiring the analysis of the surrounding temporal context. Though the comparison between the different timeline designs were inconclusive, participants reported a clear preference towards the timeline design that did not occupy the vertical space. Finally, we illustrate the use of the 3D timelines to a real use-case on the analysis of biological 3D temporal datasets.

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