Aidan Slingsby
Senior Lecturer in Visual and Analytic Computing

giCentre, Department of Computer Science, City, University of London


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I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science as part of the giCentre Research Centre. I direct our MSc in Data Science programme and oversee our department's whole postgraduate offerings.

My research interests focus on the role of data visualisation in the analysis of data, particularly those that are spatial and temporal. My work involves creating, designing, applying and evaluating both static and interactive information visualisation for data exploration and analysis. I design and apply these techniques in a variety of application areas including insurance, population, human movement, animal movement and ecology. I use and combine techniques from cartography, GIS and information visualisation.

I have a background in Geography and GIS, holding a BSc (Hons) in Geology (Edinburgh), an MSc in GIS (Edinburgh) and a PhD in GIS (University College London).


Recent news

January 2021: We have some new fully-funded PhD opportunities with a deadline at the end of April. If you would like to do a PhD with me, do get in touch. I would be interested in supervising projects on Visual Analytics. These may include designing, implementing and evaluating interactive methods for facilitating problem-solving, particularly for data and problems with complex, interesting and/or unusual characteristics.
January 2021: I have (finally) added more details about my BirdGpsExplorer software, which I've been writing/improving on/off for the last decade. It facilitates interaction visual exploration of GPS track data. Give it a go!
January 2021: Congratulations to our Computer Science graduands who graduated in a virtual ceremony on 20th January. Special congratulations Johannes Liem and Mithileysh Sathiyanarayanan for their giCentre PhDs and also to the MSc in Data Science cohort. It was an honour to present the awards.
December 2020: Our EPSRC research proposal "Making Visual Analytics an Integral Part of the Technological Infrastructure for Combating COVID-19: was successful. The multi-university bid led by Min Chen at Oxford and will be working with the Scottish COVID-19 Response Consortium. I will be working with Richard Reeve and Claire Harris at Glasgow University.
December 2020: Our "RateSetter" project led by Risk Solutions has just won funding from RSSB. I will be designing, applying and implementing interactive visualisation to help the railway industry assess the impact of COVID-related measures on the train punctuality, from Risk Solutions' agent based model.
October 2020: I chaired the Geospatial Data session at the IEEE VIS conference in Salt Lake City in October. A really interesting set of papers, delivered over YouTube and Discord.
October 2020: The Visual Analytics for Data Scientists text book that I have co-written along with Natalia Andrienko, Gennady Andrienko, Georg Fuchs, Cagatay Turkay and Steffan Wrobel is now available, aimed and Data Scientists who want to make use of interactive visualisation to support analysis.

See older news.


Current projects

Making Visual Analytics an Integral Part of the Technological Infrastructure for Combating COVID-19: I will be working with Richard Reeve and Claire Harris at Glasgow University, designing and applying visual analytics to assist the construction of models and interpretation of the results. This project is an EPSRC-funded multi-university project led by Min Chen at Oxford University, that also involves Bangor University, City (University of London), the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, King's College London, Loughborough University, Middlesex University, the University of Nottingham, Swansea University and the University of Warwick and will be working with the Scottish COVID-19 Response Consortium.
The Rail Performance Model: I will be designing and implementing interactive visualisation to assist in constructing an agent-based model of train movements and to facilitate interpretation and comparison of the model results. The project is led by Risk Solutions has been successfully funded. This follows from the previous project, but involves more partners including Great Western Railway, Great Anglia and Network Rail. Whilst the previous project was a feasibility study, here we will implement a toolset to be used by the UK rail industry, including timetable design. We will be producing a number of case studies.

Previous projects

Agent based modelling and visualisation of the causes and consequences of knock-on delays: This project investigated the feasibility of combining agent-based modelling and highly interactive visualisation to help the railway industry understand reactionary (knock-on) delay and how to reduce it. It is feasible and a follow-up project was funded (se above). Project partners were Risk Solutions and Great Western Railway and it was funded by RSSB, the rail industry's research arm that funds applied research that is likely to improve the way the railway run.

Teaching and supervision

I direct our MSc in Data Science programme. I am grateful to DataCamp for providing free accounts to our students. They complement the theoretical content of the degree by providing tutorials on a range of Data Science technologies.

I teach Business Intelligence and Analytics (data analysis with an emphasis on visual analysis and presentation; INM451) to MSc students, Visual Analytics (the science and practice of combining computational and analysis analysis, INM433) to MSc students, and our two-week intensive programming "bootcamp" of fun for our first-year undergraduates. This teaching contributes to our MSc in Business Systems and Design, the MSc in Data Science and our Undergraduate programmes.

I supervise BSc, MSc and PhD projects and I'm open to supervising projects that relate to my research interests. Examples include: implementing existing work using web technology, combining interactive visualisation and geographically-weighted statistics for visual exploration, developing and/or evaluating flow/movement visual analytics methods, applications with sensor data and ecology-related applications.

I have also acted as an examiner for PhD candidates.


Some examples and demos

Video demos on the giCentre Vimeo Channel

birdGIS: Software for visually-exploring GPS data, originally designed for GPS-tracked birds.

London bike hire graphs: last 24 hours of usage compared to last week and for any day since mid-August

OAC maps: rectangular cartograms of UK demographics.

Place Survey: explore the Place Survey results for Leicestershire.

Responsive Legends for Aerial Photographs: demo of a map legend for an aerial photograph that is responsive to zoom/pan.

Tag map mashups: Mashups of point-based spatial data of British placenames

Exploring Design Decisions for Effective Information Visualization: tutorial with software.


Key publications

See full list.

Slingsby, A. & van Loon, E. (2016). Exploratory Visual Analysis for Animal Movement Ecology. Computer Graphics Forum, 35(3). [details | DOI | software | video]

Turkay, C., Slingsby, A., Hauser, H., Wood, J. & Dykes, J. (2014). Attribute Signatures: Dynamic Visual Summaries for Analyzing Multivariate Geographical Data. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics [details]

Slingsby, A., Dykes, J., Wood, J. & Radburn, R. 2014. Designing an Exploratory Visual Interface to the Results of Citizen Surveys. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, doi: 10.1080/13658816.2014.920845 [details]

Slingsby, A., Beecham, R. and Wood, J. 2013. Visual Analysis of Social Networks in Space and Time using Smartphone Logs Pervasive and Mobile Computing 9 (6), pp848-864. [details]

Walker, R., Slingsby, A., Dykes, J., Xu, K., Wood, J., Nguyen, P., Stephens, D., Wong, W. and Zheng, Y. 2013. An Extensible Framework for Provenance in Human Terrain Visual Analytics Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 19 (12), pp2139-2148. [details]

Slingsby, A., Dykes, J. and Wood, J. 2011. Exploring Uncertainty in Geodemographics with Interactive Graphics. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 17(12), pp2384-2391 [paper]

Dykes, J., Wood, J. and Slingsby, A. 2010 Rethinking Map Legends with Visualization. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 16(6), pp890-899 [pdf | video] Honorable mention

Wood, J., Dykes, J., Slingsby, A. 2010. Visualization of Origins, Destinations and Flows with OD Maps, The Cartographic Journal 47 (2) pp117-129. DOI:10.1179/000870410X12658023467367 [pdf]

Slingsby, A., Wood, J. and Dykes, J. (2010) Treemap Cartography for showing Spatial and Temporal Traffic Patterns, Journal of Maps, v2010, 135-146. DOI: 10.4113/jom.2010.1071 [pdf | demo].

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, pp977-984 [pdf | video] Honorable mention

Wood, J, Dykes, J., Slingsby, A. and Clarke K. 2007. Interactive visual exploration of a large spatio-temporal data set: reflections on a geovisualization mashup. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 13 (6), pp1176-1183, November/December 2007. [