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Explorative coastal oceanographic visual analytics : oceans of data

George, Richard Llwyd Simon Frost (2013) Explorative coastal oceanographic visual analytics : oceans of data. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

The widely acknowledged challenge to data analysis and understanding, resulting from the exponential increase in volumes of data generated by increasingly complex modelling and sampling systems, is a problem experienced by many researchers, including ocean scientists. The thesis explores a visualization and visual analytics solution for predictive studies of coastal shelf and estuarine modelled, hydrodynamics undertaken to understand sea level rise, as a contribution to wider climate change studies, and to underpin coastal zone planning, flood prevention and extreme event management. But these studies are complex and require numerous simulations of estuarine hydrodynamics, generating extremely large datasets of multi-field data. This type of data is acknowledged as difficult to visualize and analyse, as its numerous attributes present significant computational challenges, and ideally require a wide range of approaches to provide the necessary insight. These challenges are not easily overcome with the current visualization and analysis methodologies employed by coastal shelf hydrodynamic researchers, who use several software systems to generate graphs, each taking considerable time to operate, thus it is difficult to explore different scenarios and explore the data interactively and visually. The thesis, therefore, develops novel visualization and visual analytics techniques to help researchers overcome the limitations of existing methods (for example in understanding key tidal components); analyse data in a timely manner and explore different scenarios. There were a number of challenges to this: the size of the data, resulting in lengthy computing time, also many data values becoming plotted on one pixel (overplotting). The thesis presents: (1) a new visualization framework (VINCA) using caching and hierarchical aggregation techniques to make the data more interactive, plus explorative, coordinated multiple views, to enable the scientists to explore the data. (2) A novel estuarine transect profiler and flux tool, which provides instantaneous flux calculations across an estuary. Measures of flux are of great significance in oceanographic studies, yet are notoriously difficult and time consuming to calculate with the commonly used tools. This derived data is added back into the database for further investigation and analysis. (3) New views, including a novel, dynamic, spatially aggregated Parallel Coordinate Plots (Sa-PCP), are developed to provide different perspectives of the spatial, time dependent data, also methodologies for developing high-quality (journal ready) output from the visualization tool. Finally, (4) the dissertation explored the use of hierarchical data-structures and caching techniques to enable fast analysis on a desktop computer and to overcome the overplotting challenge for this data.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Natural Sciences > School of Ocean Sciences
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2015 08:36
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 08:56
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5264
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