Due to the increasing use of data analytics, information visualization is getting more and more important. However, as data get more complex, so does visualization, often leading to ad hoc and cumbersome solutions. A recent alternative is the use of the so-called knowledge-assisted visualization tools. In this paper, we present STMaps (Spatio-Temporal Maps), a multipurpose knowledge-assisted ontology-based visualization tool of spatio-temporal data. STMaps has been (originally) designed to show, by means of an interactive map, the content of the SILKNOW project, a European research project on silk heritage. It is entirely based on ontology support, as it gets the source data from an ontology and uses also another ontology to define how data should be visualized. STMaps provides some unique features. First, it is a multi-platform application. It can work embedded in an HTML page and can also work as a standalone application over several computer architectures. Second, it can be used for multiple purposes by just changing its configuration files and/or the ontologies on which it works. As STMaps relies on visualizing spatio-temporal data provided by an ontology, the tool could be used to visualize the results of any domain (in other cultural and non-cultural contexts), provided that its datasets contain spatio-temporal information. The visualization mechanisms can also be changed by changing the visualization ontology. Third, it provides different solutions to show spatio-temporal data, and also deals with uncertain and missing information. STMaps has been tested to browse silk-related objects, discovering some interesting relationships between different objects, showing the versatility and power of the different visualization tools proposed in this paper. To the best of our knowledge, this is also the first ontology-based visualization tool applied to silk-related heritage.
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