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Open AccessArticle

AirInsight: Visual Exploration and Interpretation of Latent Patterns and Anomalies in Air Quality Data

by 1,2,†, 1,2,†, 1,2, 1,3,* and 4,*
1
School of Information Science and Technology, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
2
Key Laboratory of Intelligent Information Processing of Jilin Universities, Changchun 130024, China
3
Library, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
4
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Vegetation Restoration, School of Environment, Northeast Normarl University, Changchun 130024, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2944; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102944
Received: 16 March 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
Nowadays, huge volume of air quality data provides unprecedented opportunities for analyzing pollution. However, due to the high complexity, most traditional analytical methods focus on abstracting data, so these techniques discard the original structure and limit the understanding of the results. Visual analysis is a powerful technique for exploring unknown patterns since it retains the details of the original data and gives visual feedback to users. In this paper, we focus on air quality data and propose the AirInsight design, an interactive visual analytic system for recognizing, exploring, and summarizing regular patterns, as well as detecting, classifying, and interpreting abnormal cases. Based on the time-varying and multivariate features of air quality data, a dimension reduction method Composite Least Square Projection (CLSP) is proposed, which allows appreciating and interpreting the data patterns in the context of attributes. On the basis of the observed regular patterns, multiple abnormal cases are further detected, including the multivariate anomalies by the proposed Noise Hierarchical Clustering (NHC) method, abruptly changing timestamps by Time diversity (TD) indicator, and cities with unique patterns by the Geographical Surprise (GS) measure. Moreover, we combine TD and GS to group anomalies based on their underlying spatiotemporal correlations. AirInsight includes multiple coordinated views and rich interactive functions to provide contextual information from different aspects and facilitate a comprehensive understanding. In particular, a pair of glyphs are designed that provide a visual representation of the temporal variation in air quality conditions for a user-selected city. Experiments show that CLSP improves the accuracy of Least Square Projection (LSP) and that NHC has the ability to separate noises. Meanwhile, several case studies and task-based user evaluation demonstrate that our system is effective and practical for exploring and interpreting multivariate spatiotemporal patterns and anomalies in air quality data.
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Keywords: visual analytics; system; air quality; spatiotemporal; multivariate; dimension reduction; clustering; regular patterns; anomalies visual analytics; system; air quality; spatiotemporal; multivariate; dimension reduction; clustering; regular patterns; anomalies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, H.; Ren, K.; Lin, Y.; Qu, D.; Li, Z. AirInsight: Visual Exploration and Interpretation of Latent Patterns and Anomalies in Air Quality Data. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2944. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102944

AMA Style

Zhang H, Ren K, Lin Y, Qu D, Li Z. AirInsight: Visual Exploration and Interpretation of Latent Patterns and Anomalies in Air Quality Data. Sustainability. 2019; 11(10):2944. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102944

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Huijie; Ren, Ke; Lin, Yiming; Qu, Dezhan; Li, Zhenxin. 2019. "AirInsight: Visual Exploration and Interpretation of Latent Patterns and Anomalies in Air Quality Data" Sustainability 11, no. 10: 2944. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102944

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