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Interactive visualization methods are now evolving in response to a need to provide more immediate access to particular features of interest to analysts at particular points in the space and time of their data. This paper focuses on feature extraction methods relevant to the analysis of vector fields. In vector fields, “critical points” are those points at which the vector magnitude passes through zero. The word “topology” is used to describe the interconnection patterns between critical points. Topology is central to the understanding of vector fields. It provides very succinct and precise summary information, and can be used to subdivide large fields into well-defined subregions. In this paper, methods for interactively creating maps of vector-field topology are described. The advantages offered by interactive methods in comparison with automatic methods are also discussed.
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