Spatially Ordered Treemaps

A paper that explains how we have extended the squarified treemap layout to make better use of the treemap space.

Wood, J. and Dykes, J. (2008) Spatially ordered treemaps. To appear in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 14(6).

Abstract: Existing treemap layout algorithms suffer to some extent from poor or inconsistent mappings between data order and visual ordering in their representation, reducing their cognitive plausibility. While attempts have been made to quantify this mismatch, and algorithms proposed to minimize inconsistency, solutions provided tend to concentrate on one-dimensional ordering. We propose extensions to the existing squarified layout algorithm that exploit the two-dimensional arrangement of treemap nodes more effectively. Our proposed spatial squarified layout algorithm provides a more consistent arrangement of nodes while maintaining low aspect ratios. It is suitable for the arrangement of data with a geographic component and can be used to create tessellated car tograms for geovisualization. Locational consistency is measured and visualized and a number of layout algorithms are compared. CIELab color space and displacement vector overlays are used to assess and emphasize the spatial layout of treemap nodes. A case study involving locations of tagged photographs in the Flickr database is described.

Hierarchical Graphics

TreeMaps are just one example of graphics that display data elements as some form of hierarchy. The paper below shows how we have generalised the principles of hierarchical graphical layout and styling into a more general theory using the HiVE language:

Slingsby, A., Dykes, J. and Wood, J. (2009) Configuring hierarchical layouts to address research questions. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 15 (6), Nov-Dec 2009

Abstract: We explore the effects of selecting alternative layouts in hierarchical displays that show multiple aspects of large multivariate datasets, including spatial and temporal characteristics. Hierarchical displays of this type condition a dataset by multiple discrete variable values, creating nested graphical summaries of the resulting subsets in which size, shape and colour can be used to show subset properties. These 'small multiples' are ordered by the conditioning variable values and are laid out hierarchically using dimensional stacking. Crucially, we consider the use of different layouts at different hierarchical levels, so that the coordinates of the plane can be used more effectively to draw attention to trends and anomalies in the data. We argue that these layouts should be informed by the type of conditioning variable and by the research question being explored. We focus on space-filling rectangular layouts that provide data-dense and rich over views of data to address research questions posed in our exploratory analysis of spatial and temporal aspects of property sales in London. We develop a notation ('HiVE') that describes visualisation and layout states and provides reconfiguration operators, demonstrate its use for reconfiguring layouts to pursue research questions and provide guidelines for this process. We demonstrate how layouts can be related through animated transitions to reduce the cognitive load associated with their reconfiguration whilst supporting the exploratory process.

Some Further Reading

Last modified, 27th August, 2010