Visual analytics is “the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces.” It can attack certain problems whose size, complexity, and need for closely coupled human and machine analysis may make them otherwise intractable. Visual analytics advances science and technology developments in analytical reasoning, interaction, data transformations and representations for computation and visualization, analytic reporting, and technology transition. As a research agenda, visual analytics brings together several scientific and technical communities from computer science, information visualization, cognitive and perceptual sciences, interactive design, graphic design, and social sciences.
Visual analytics integrates new computational and theory-based tools with innovative interactive techniques and visual representations to enable human-information discourse. The design of the tools and techniques is based on cognitive, design, and perceptual principles. This science of analytical reasoning provides the reasoning framework upon which one can build both strategic and tactical visual analytics technologies for threat analysis, prevention, and response. Analytical reasoning is central to the analyst’s task of applying human judgments to reach conclusions from a combination of evidence and assumptions.
Visual analytics seeks to marry techniques from information visualization with techniques from computational transformation and analysis of data. Information visualization forms part of the direct interface between user and machine, amplifying human cognitive capabilities in six basic ways:
- by increasing cognitive resources, such as by using a visual resource to expand human working memory,
- by reducing search, such as by representing a large amount of data in a small space,
- by enhancing the recognition of patterns, such as when information is organized in space by its time relationships,
- by supporting the easy perceptual inference of relationships that are otherwise more difficult to induce,
- by perceptual monitoring of a large number of potential events, and
- by providing a manipulable medium that, unlike static diagrams, enables the exploration of a space of parameter values
These capabilities of information visualization, combined with computational data analysis, can be applied to analytic reasoning to support the sense-making process. Our main tool for Visual analytics is Tableau Software.