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An Interactive Mixed Reality Visualization Framework for Immersive Analytics

Thesis type
  • Master
Student Benedikt Hensen
Status Finished
Proposal on 02. Apr 2019 15:00
Proposal room Bibliothek I5
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Presentation on 30. Sep 2019 16:00
Presentation room Bib I5
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Visualizations help humans in understanding complex data. A visual representation gives an overview of the data set so that it becomes possible to interpret it, e.g. to see patterns or correlations. With the rise of mixed reality technologies, various possibilities appeared in the field of Immersive Analytics. Instead of reducing the displayed content to a two-dimensional representation on a paper or screen, it is now possible to created three-dimensional visualizations. This enables the analyst to dive into the visual representation of the data and to freely explore it from different perspectives in a highly interactive manner.

Visualizations help humans in understanding complex data. A visual representation gives an overview of the data set so that it becomes possible to interpret it, e.g. to see patterns or correlations. With the rise of mixed reality technologies, various possibilities appeared in the field of Immersive Analytics. Instead of reducing the displayed content to a two-dimensional representation on a paper or screen, it is now possible to created three-dimensional visualizations. This enables the analyst to dive into the visual representation of the data and to freely explore it from different perspectives in a highly interactive manner. The goal of this thesis is to inquire suitable ways of combining mixed reality with immersive analytics. In order to evaluate the proposed solutions of this thesis, a visualization framework will be implemented in Unity. It will feature a number of visualizations which leverage the additional freedom of the three dimensional space in mixed reality. The developed visualization classes will contain both general-purpose visualizations which can be used for any kind of data as well as specialized visualizations for specific kinds of data sets. One part of this thesis will contain the evaluation of the three-dimensional visualizations according to their information content, understandability, usability and a comparison to similar 2D visualizations. In order to supply the visualizations with data, the proposed framework will provide users with a visual query language which will be developed in the theoretic part of the thesis. Typing in VR and AR is cumbersome and so with this visual query builder, users will be able to connect command blocks in order to form semantically meaningful SQL queries. The developed visual language will be used to extract data from imported datasets and to map them into the required format for the visualization components. Typical operations which users will be able to perform include filtering the data and selecting columns from the dataset. The language controls should work in an interactive way, i.e. if the user changes a condition of a data filter, these changes should directly be reflected in the visualization. The proposed visualization framework is designed to be multi-purpose and to fit various use cases. One such use case is the data analysis in Communities of Practice. For instance, insights can be gained from usage data which have been gathered from a common application which is central to the community’s activities. In this context, visualizations can also help in communicating insights. The immersive analytics framework should enable users to work together collaboratively. This way, users can discuss gathered data together and can employ the 3D visualizations as an additional presentation medium in their conversation.

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