Category Archives: Publication

Real-Time Snow Cover Simulation (Computers & Graphics)

Title: Real-time GIS-based Snow Cover Approximation and Rendering for Large Terrains

Journal: Computers & Graphics

Authors: Benjamin Neukom, Stefan Müller Arisona, Simon Schubiger

Abstract: Various terrain visualization techniques based on geographic information system (GIS) data already exist. One major drawback of existing visualizations is that they do not capture seasonal variations well. Besides vegetation variations, in colder areas this particularly also applies to snow cover. In this paper, we propose a real-time multi-scale snow cover approximation and visualization for large terrains. The computation runs on a large grid, calculates the snow/water equivalent based on precipitation data from a GIS and snowmelt based on a physically-based solar radiation calculation combined with a degree-day snowmelt approach using level of detail (LOD). The snow visualization is divided into two parts: Zero thickness snow cover textures are generated for distant views. For close up views the terrain’s height field is modified using displacement maps and tessellation to produce thick snow covers. The GPU-based data-parallel computation and the visualization run on the GPU in real-time on a modern desktop computer. The implementation is tested using a real area in the Swiss Alps, with a size of 14.16 by 12.88 km, a grid resolution of 222 × 206, and a time step of 1 h. We compare the rendered results spanning several months with a time series of photographs from webcams for visual accuracy.

Comparison of webcam images (left) of Zermatt with our simulation (right). Trees were placed by hand and the sun position was approximated from the webcam image. (A) Start of the computation on 12.10.2015 with only the initial snow visible. (B) The results on 18.10.2015 after the first snowfall. The snowline was accurately computed. (C) The results on 16.01.2016 after the first heavy snowfall with the whole scene covered in snow. (D) The results on 21.04.2016 with snow beginning to melt as the temperature rises.

Code for Unreal Engine (open source):

Title: Visualizing Waypoints-Constrained Origin-Destination Patterns for Massive Transportation Data
Authors: Benjamin Neukom, Stefan Müller Arisona, Simon Schubiger
Journal: Computers & Graphics
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2018

Visualizing Waypoints-Constrained Origin-Destination Patterns for Massive Transportation Data (CGF)

Journal: Computer Graphics Forum

Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Alexander Erath, Huamin Qu

Abstract: Origin-destination (OD) pattern is a highly useful means for transportation research since it summarizes urban dynamics and human mobility. However, existing visual analytics are insufficient for certain OD analytical tasks needed in transport research. For example, transport researchers are interested in path-related movements across congested roads, besides global patterns over the entire domain. Driven by this need, we propose waypoints-constrained OD visual analytics, a new approach for exploring path-related OD patterns in an urban transportation network. First, we use hashing-based query to support interactive filtering of trajectories through user-specified waypoints. Second, we elaborate a set of design principles and rules, and derive a novel unified visual representation called the waypoints-constrained OD view by carefully considering the OD flow presentation, the temporal variation, spatial layout and user interaction. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our interface with two case studies and expert interviews with five transportation experts.

Title: Visualizing Waypoints-Constrained Origin-Destination Patterns for Massive Transportation Data
Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Alexander Erath, Huamin Qu
Journal: Computer Graphics Forum
Publisher: Eurographics Association
Year: 2015

Time–Space Diagram Revisited (TRR 2442)

Journal: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

Authors: Afian Anwar, Zeng Wei, Stefan Müller Arisona

Abstract: Widely used in the design and analysis of transportation systems, time-space diagrams were developed in an era of data scarcity, when it was necessary to obtain data by means of driver logs, human observ- ers, and aerial photographs. This paper shows how time-space diagrams remain relevant today, in an era of data abundance. An application efficiently encodes the trajectories of bus GPS data in a time-space cube and uses simple geometric methods to calculate and to visualize the headways and separation of buses on a bus route. These methods are discussed in detail. How they can be used as the basis of a software package that monitors performance measures for a variety of applications is explored.

Title: Time-Space Diagram Revisited
Authors: Afian Anwar, Wei Zeng, Stefan Müller Arisona
Journal: TRR
Publisher: TRB
Volume: 2442
Year: 2014
Pages: 1 – 7

Visualizing Mobility of Public Transportation System (TVCG/VAST)

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG).

Conference: IEEE Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) 2014.

Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Alexander Erath, Huamin Qu

Abstract: Public transportation systems (PTSs) play an important role in modern cities, providing shared/massive transportation services that are essential for the general public. However, due to their increasing complexity, designing effective methods to visualize and explore PTS is highly challenging. Most existing techniques employ network visualization methods and focus on showing the network topology across stops while ignoring various mobility-related factors such as riding time, transfer time, waiting time, and round-the-clock patterns. This work aims to visualize and explore passenger mobility in a PTS with a family of analytical tasks based on inputs from transportation researchers. After exploring different design alternatives, we come up with an integrated solution with three visualization modules: isochrone map view for geographical information, isotime flow map view for effective temporal information comparison and manipulation, and OD-pair journey view for detailed visual analysis of mobility factors along routes between specific origin-destination pairs. The isotime flow map linearizes a flow map into a parallel isoline representation, maximizing the visualization of mobility information along the horizontal time axis while presenting clear and smooth pathways from origin to destinations. Moreover, we devise several interactive visual query methods for users to easily explore the dynamics of PTS mobility over space and time. Lastly, we also construct a PTS mobility model from millions of real passenger trajectories, and evaluate our visualization techniques with assorted case studies with the transportation researchers.

Title: Visualizing Mobility of Public Transportation System
Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Alexander Erath, Huamin Qu
Journal: IEEE TVCG
Publisher: IEEE
Volume: 20(12)
Year: 2014
Pages: 1833 – 1842

Detecting the Dynamics of Urban Structure Through Spatial Network Analysis (IJGIS 2014)

Journal: International Journal of Geographical Information Science

Authors: Chen Zhong, Stefan Müller Arisona, Xianfeng Huang, Michael Batty, Gerhard Schmitt

Abstract: Urban spatial structure in large cities is becoming ever more complex as populations grow in size, engage in more travel, and have increasing amounts of disposable income that enable them to live more diverse lifestyles. These trends have prominent and visible effects on urban activity, and cities are becoming more polycentric in their structure as new clusters and hotspots emerge and coalesce in a wider sea of urban development. Here, we apply recent methods in network science and their generalization to spatial analysis to identify the spatial structure of city hubs, centers, and borders, which are essential elements in understanding urban interactions. We use a ‘big’ data set for Singapore from the automatic smart card fare collection system, which is available for sample periods in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to show how the changing roles and influences of local areas in the overall spatial structure of urban movement can be efficiently monitored from daily transportation.
In essence, we first construct a weighted directed graph from these travel records. Each node in the graph denotes an urban area, edges denote the possibility of travel between any two areas, and the weight of edges denotes the volume of travel, which is the number of trips made. We then make use of (a) the graph properties to obtain an overall view of travel demand, (b) graph centralities for detecting urban centers and hubs, and (c) graph community structures for uncovering socioeconomic clusters defined as neighborhoods and their borders. Finally, results of this network analysis are projected back onto geographical space to reveal the spatial structure of urban movements. The revealed community structure shows a clear subdivision into different areas that separate the population’s activity space into smaller neighborhoods. The generated borders are different from existing administrative ones. By comparing the results from 3 years of data, we find that Singapore, even from such a short time series, is developing rapidly towards a polycentric urban form, where new subcenters and communities are emerging largely in line with the city’s master plan.
To summarize, our approach yields important insights into urban phenomena generated by human movements. It represents a quantitative approach to urban analysis, which explicitly identifies ongoing urban transformations.

Title: Detecting the Dynamics of Urban Structure Through Spatial Network Analysis
Authors: Chen Zhong, Stefan Müller Arisona, Xianfeng Huang, Michael Batty, Gerhard Schmitt
Journal: International Journal of Geographical Information Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2014
DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2014.914521

A Visual Analytics Framework for Large Transportation Datasets (CAADRIA 2014)

Conference: 19th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia CAADRIA 2014

Authors: Chen Zhong, Stefan Müller Arisona, Gerhard Schmitt

Abstract: The advancement of sensor technologies makes it possible to collect large amounts of dynamic urban data. On the other hand, how to store, process, and analyze collected urban data to make them useful becomes a new challenge. To address this issue, this paper proposes a visual analytics framework, which is applied to transportation data to manage and extract information for urban studies. More specif- ically, the proposed framework has three components: (1) a geographic information system (GIS) based pipeline providing basic data processing functions; (2) a spatial network analysis that is integrated into the pipeline for extracting spatial structure of urban movement; (3) interactive operations allowing the user to explore and view the output data sets at different levels of details. Taking Singapore as a case study area, we use a sample data set from the automatic smart card fare collection system as an input to our prototype tool. The result shows the feasibility of proposed framework and analysis method. To summarize, our work shows the potential of geospatial based visual analytics tools in using ‘big’ data for urban analysis.

Award: Won best presentation award.

Title: A Visual Analytics Framework for Large Transportation Datasets
Authors: Chen Zhong, Stefan Müller Arisona, Gerhard Schmitt
Proceedings: 19th International Conference on Computer- Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia CAADRIA 2014
Publisher: The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA)
Year: 2014
Pages: 223 – 232

Journal of Professional Communication: “Art/Science Hybrids”

Special Issue on Art/Science Hybrids. Journal of Professional Communication (JPC), Volume 3, Issue 2, 2013

A collection of papers originally presented at Digital Art Weeks 2013 Singapore (DAW)

Editor in chief: Alex Sévigny, McMaster University

Guest editors: Steve Gibson, Faculty of Art, Design and Social Science, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK and Stefan Müller Arisona, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW / Future Cities Laboratory, ETH Zurich

The rise of new transdisciplinary practices in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries is striking. The gulf between art and science that has widened since the Enlightenment has now been challenged by a wide body of scholars, artists, designers and scientists. This special issue explores the concerns of emergent transdisciplinary research that seeks to re-unite the arts and sciences.

Table of Contents


Preface to the JPC special issue on Art/Science Hybrids. Alex Sévigny

Art Into science/science into art. Steve Gibson

Iterative Emergence of Art/Science Hybrids. Stefan Müller Arisona, Pascal Mueller, Simon Schubiger, and Matthias Specht


Augmenting science through art. Matthias Berger

Next nature: ‘nature caused by people’. Sue Thomas


Interview with George Legrady, chair of the media arts & technology program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Stefan Müller Arisona

Research Articles

Art-science and verbal articulation in hyper-visual techno-culture. F. Scott Taylor

Theoretical aesthetics. Adam Tindale

Mapping art to systems thinking. Paul Goodfellow

The superhero and the DJ: Science meets design. Mikael Lindstrom, Farvash Razavi, and Nandi Novell

Social commentary through the transdisciplinary practice of audio-visual performance. Léon McCarthy

The digitization of music and the accessibility of the artist. Marius Carboni

Live programming for robotic fabrication. Jason Lim

Title: Art/Science Hybrids
Editor: Alex Sévigny
Guest Editors: Steve Gibson and Stefan Müller Arisona
Journal: Journal of Profession Communication
Year: 2013
Volume: 3(2)

Visualizing Interchange Patterns in Massive Movement Data (EuroVis 2013)

Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Huamin Qu


Abstract: Massive amount of movement data, such as daily trips made by millions of passengers in a city, are widely avail- able nowadays. They are a highly valuable means not only for unveiling human mobility patterns, but also for assisting transportation planning, in particular for metropolises around the world. In this paper, we focus on a novel aspect of visualizing and analyzing massive movement data, i.e., the interchange pattern, aiming at re- vealing passenger redistribution in a traffic network. We first formulate a new model of circos figure, namely the interchange circos diagram, to present interchange patterns at a junction node in a bundled fashion, and optimize the color assignments to respect the connections within and between junction nodes. Based on this, we develop a family of visual analysis techniques to help users interactively study interchange patterns in a spatiotemporal manner: 1) multi-spatial scales: from network junctions such as train stations to people flow across and between larger spatial areas; and 2) temporal changes of patterns from different times of the day. Our techniques have been applied to real movement data consisting of hundred thousands of trips, and we present also two case studies on how transportation experts worked with our interface.

Title: Visualizing Interchange Patterns in Massive Movement Data
Authors: Wei Zeng, Chi-Wing Fu, Stefan Müller Arisona, Huamin Qu
Journal: Computer Graphics Forum
Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2013
Volume: 32(3)
Pages: 271-280
DOI: 10.1111/cgf.12114

Book: Digital Urban Modeling and Simulation

Edited by Stefan Müller Arisona, Gideon Aschwanden, Jan Halatsch, and Peter Wonka, 2012

About this Book

This book is thematically positioned at the intersections of Urban Design, Architecture, Civil Engineering and Computer Science, and it has the goal to provide specialists coming from respective fields a multi-angle overview of state-of-the-art work currently being carried out. It addresses both newcomers who wish to obtain more knowledge about this growing area of interest, as well as established researchers and practitioners who want to keep up to date. In terms of organization, the volume starts out with chapters looking at the domain at a wide-angle and then moves focus towards technical viewpoints and approaches. (Excerpt from preface by Stefan Müller Arisona). Continue reading