Interactive visualization of 3D trajectories in virtual reality

An article published at the IEEE Vis 2018 conference proposes a new method of navigation in thousands of virtual reality aircraft trajectories to detect trends and anomalies.

Visualizing 3D trajectories to extract information about their similarities and abnormal patterns is a critical task in many areas. Air traffic controllers have large quantities of aircraft routes to optimize safety in airspace. Neuroscientists are trying to understand the neural pathways in the human brain by visualizing fibre bundles from DTI images. Trainers seek to understand the performance of players by examining their performance during recorded matches using sensors.

However, extracting information from these masses of 3D trajectories is difficult because the multiple three-dimensional lines have complex geometries, can overlap, cross or even merge with each other, making it impossible to track individual lines in dense areas. To do this, we introduce FiberClay: a system for displaying and interacting with 3D trajectories in immersive environments. 

FiberClay is a multidimensional, immersive visualization system. The user can navigate through the sets of trajectories to better understand their dense and complex structures. FiberClay allows the rendering of a large amount of trajectories in real time using GP-GPU techniques. FiberClay also introduces a new set of interactive techniques to compose complex queries in 3D space using immersive environment controllers and user position. These techniques allow an analyst to select and compare sets of trajectories with geometries and data properties (non-spatial). Fiberclay was evaluated and validated with air traffic controllers and neuroscientists who were able to see familiar data for the first time with an overview and effective navigation mechanisms in order to quickly identify data anomalies.

FiberClay was presented at the IEEE Vis 2018 [1] conference (major data visualization conference). FiberClay is a collaboration between ENAC (Christophe Hurter, Richard Alligier), Microsoft Research (Nathalie Riche, Steven Drucker), Monash University (Maxime Cordeil) and École Centrale de Lyon (Romain Vuillemot).

[1] Christophe Hurter, Nathalie Riche, Steven Drucker, Maxime Cordeil, Richard Alligier, Romain Vuillemot. FiberClay: Sculpting Three Dimensional Trajectories to Reveal Structural Insights. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE VIS 2018, Berlin. DOI : 10.1109/TVCG.2018.2865191