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SEE: A Spatial Exploration Environment Based on a Direct-Manipulation Paradigm
July/August 2001 (vol. 13 no. 4)
pp. 654-670

Abstract—The need for providing effective tools for analyzing and querying spatial data is becoming increasingly important with the explosion of data in applications such as geographic information systems, image databases, CAD, and remote sensing. The SEE (Spatial Exploration Environment) is the first effort at applying direct-manipulation visual information seeking (VIS) techniques to spatial data analysis by visually querying as well as browsing spatial data and reviewing the visual results for trend analysis. The SEE system incorporates a visual query language (SVIQUEL) that allows users to specify the relative spatial position (both topology and direction) between objects using direct manipulation. The quantitative SVIQUEL sliders (S-sliders) are complemented by the qualitative Active-Picture-for-Querying (APIQ) interface that allows the user to specify qualitative relative position queries. APIQ provides qualitative visual representations of the quantitative query specified by the S-sliders. This increases the utility of the system for spatial browsing and spatial trend discovery with no particular query in mind. The SVIQUEL queries are processed using a k-Bucket index structure specifically tuned for incremental processing of the multidimensional range queries that represent the class of queries that can be expressed by SVIQUEL. We have also designed a tightly integrated map visualization that helps to preserve the spatial context and a bar visualization that provides a qualitative abstraction of aggregates and enables the user to visualize the results of the spatial query as well as the nonspatial attributes of the underlying spatial objects. The SEE system has been fully implemented as an applet using JDK1.1.4. Finally, we compare the spatial exploration environment (SEE) technology with alternative spatial query environments with respect to its querying power and the ease of querying.

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Index Terms:
Direct-manipulation, spatial visual query language, spatial trend discovery, multidimensional range queries.
Sudhir R. Kaushik, Elke A. Rundensteiner, "SEE: A Spatial Exploration Environment Based on a Direct-Manipulation Paradigm," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 654-670, July-Aug. 2001, doi:10.1109/69.940738
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