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Proceedings Paper

Glyphs for visualizing uncertainty in environmental vector fields
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Paper Abstract

Environmental data have inherent uncertainty which is often ignored in visualization. For example, meteorological stations measure wind with good accuracy, but winds are often averaged over minutes or hours. As another example, Doppler radars (wind profilers and ocean current radars) take thousands of samples and average the possibly spurious returns. Others, including time series data, have a wealth of uncertainty information that the traditional vector visualization methods such as using wind barbs and arrow glyphs simply ignore. We have developed new vector glyphs to visualize uncertain winds and ocean currents. Our approach is to include uncertainty in direction and magnitude, as well as the mean direction and length, in vector glyph plots. Our glyphs show the variation in uncertainty, and provide fair comparisons of data from instruments, models, and time averages of varying certainty. We use both qualitative and quantitative methods to compare our glyphs to traditional ones. Subjective comparison tests with experts (meteorologists and oceanographers) are provided, as well as objective tests (data ink manximization), where the information density of our new glyphs and traditional glyphs are compared. We have shown that visualizing data together with their uncertainty information enhances the understanding of the continuous range of data quality in environmental vector fields.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 April 1995
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 2410, Visual Data Exploration and Analysis II, (7 April 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.205940
Show Author Affiliations
Craig M. Wittenbrink, Univ. of California/Santa Cruz (United States)
Elijah Saxon, Univ. of California/Santa Cruz (United States)
Jeff J. Furman, Univ. of California/Santa Cruz (United States)
Alex Pang, Univ. of California/Santa Cruz (United States)
Suresh Kumar Lodha, Univ. of California/Santa Cruz (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2410:
Visual Data Exploration and Analysis II
Richard N. Ellson; Georges G. Grinstein; Robert F. Erbacher, Editor(s)

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