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Slicing and Dicing in Space and Time

 

The teaming up of map and timeline visualizations in VFX offer several options when it comes to the parameters used to fetch the data to populate each.  Depending on the purpose of your application and/or the nature of your data, you can configure stored procedures to fetch that data with varying combinations of space and time parameters.  I don’t want to assume which way works best for you and your application, so we’ve left it as open and flexible as possible.

Here are some notable options and what to expect of each…

OR

This is the most inclusive option -get ready for lots of items.  The data returned is a union of when or where.  An item that falls outside of the current map extents may still appear on the timeline, and items falling outside of the current timeline extents may still appear on the map.

As you navigate one visualization, data in the other visualization remains unchanged.

This is the most reasonable option if your perspective is that the map and timeline are peer visualization methods -each does not filter the results of the other.  It’s a real free wheeler.

AND

This is a super exclusive option -comparatively few items will appear in the map or timeline.  The data returned is an intersection of when and where.  Set up this way, items have to fall within the current map extents and time extents to appear in either visualization.  In effect, the map and the timeline filter each other

As you navigate one visualization, data in the other visualization will update.

This is probably the favored configuration if you need to see very specific slices of data based upon your current map and timeline extents.  It is a more dynamic interaction with your data.

MAP Centric

This option does not consider time parameters in the query, so if the data requested of the server (based upon the map extents) happens to have time notation, then, shoot, it will appear in the timeline -as an afterthought.

As you navigate the map, data in the timeline will update with data that happens to be returned.

This is the likely configuration for an application that is primarily map oriented but the timeline is available as a curious extra (or not at all).

TIME Centric

This option does not consider geography parameters in the query, so if the data requested of the server (based upon time bounds) happens to have some geographic element, then, shoot, it will appear in the map -as an afterthought.

As you navigate the timeline, data in the map will update with data that happens to be returned.

This is the likely configuration for an application that is primarily time oriented but the map is available as a curious extra (or not at all).

 

It all depends on what you want and what story your data is telling (good design is clear thinking made visible).  These stored procedures that determine if/what time and geographic parameters fetch the data are written for each individual feed -and remember that you should probably use the same method for all the feeds in your application.  Otherwise, your users will have no idea why data may or may not be appearing here or there; so be consistent.

Stay tuned for more updates on VFX 4.5, which will be released in November.  Ok, have fun -and if you generate some sweet visualizations, I’d love to see them.

(As an aside, the notions of geography and time are more intertwined than you may have realized)

John Nelson / IDV Solutions / john.nelson@idvsolutions.com

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