Exploring high-D spaces with Multiform matrices and small multiples

Alan MacEachren, Xiping Dai, Frank Hardisty, Diansheng Guo, Gene Lengerich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

65 Citations (SciVal)


We introduce an approach to visual analysis of multivariate data that integrates several methods from information visualization, exploratory data analysis (EDA), and geovisualization. The approach leverages the component-based architecture implemented in GeoVISTA Studio to construct a flexible, multiview, tightly (but generically) coordinated, EDA toolkit. This toolkit builds upon traditional ideas behind both small multiples and scatterplot matrices in three fundamental ways. First, we develop a general, MultiForm, Bivariate Matrix and a complementary MultiForm, Bivariate Small Multiple plot in which different bivariate representation forms can be used in combination. We demonstrate the flexibility of this approach with matrices and small multiples that depict multivariate data through combinations of: scatterplots, bivariate maps, and space-filling displays. Second, we apply a measure of conditional entropy to (a) identify variables from a high-dimensional data set that are likely to display interesting relationships and (b) generate a default order of these variables in the matrix or small multiple display. Third, we add conditioning, a kind of dynamic query/filtering in which supplementary (un-displayed) variables are used to constrain the view onto variables that are displayed. Conditioning allows the effects of one or more well understood variables to be removed from the analysis, making relationships among remaining variables easier to explore. We illustrate the individual and combined functionality enabled by this approach through application to analysis of cancer diagnosis and mortality data and their associated covariates and risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Symposium on Information Visualization 2003, InfoVis 2003
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2003
Event9th Annual IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, InfoVis 2003 - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Oct 19 2003Oct 21 2003

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, INFO VIS
ISSN (Print)1522-404X


Other9th Annual IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, InfoVis 2003
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software


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