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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 (undisplayed) 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 form 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.
Date of Conference: 21-21 Oct. 2003