M. Hlawatsch, F. Sadlo, H. Jang, D. Weiskopf:

Pathline Glyphs

Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 497–506, 2014.


Visualization of pathlines is common and highly relevant for the analysis of unsteady flow. However, pathlines can intersect, leading to visual clutter and perceptual issues. This makes it intrinsically difficult to provide expressive visualizations of the entire domain by an arrangement of multiple pathlines, in contrast to well-established streamline placement techniques. We present an approach to reduce these problems. It is inspired by glyph-based visualization and small multiples: we partition the domain into cells, each corresponding to a downscaled version of the entire domain. Inside these cells, a single downscaled pathline is drawn. On the overview scale, our pathline glyphs lead to emergent visual patterns that provide insight into time-dependent flow behavior. Zooming-in allows us to analyze individual pathlines in detail and compare neighboring lines. The overall approach is complemented with a context-preserving zoom lens and interactive pathline-based exploration. While we primarily target the visualization of 2D flow, we also address the extension to 3D. Our evaluation includes several examples, comparison to other flow visualization techniques, and a user study with domain experts.

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