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TimeTree: exploring time changing hierarchies


Intelligence analysis often involves the task of gathering information about an organization. Knowledge about individuals in an organization and their relationships, often represented as a hierarchical organization chart, is crucial for understanding the organization. However, it is difficult for intelligence analysts to follow all individuals in an organization. Due to the difficulty of managing large time-varying hierarchies, only a few very experienced political analysts would be able to identify and understand key insights from an organization's evolution. Existing hierarchy visualizations have largely focused on the visualization of fixed structures and can not effectively depict the evolution of a hierarchy over time. We introduce TimeTree, a novel visualization tool designed to enable exploration of a changing hierarchy. TimeTree enables analysts to navigate the history of an organization, identify events associated with a specific entity (visualized on a TimeSlider), and explore an aggregate view of an individual's career path (a CareerTree). We demonstrate the utility of TimeTree by investigating a set of scenarios developed by an expert intelligence analyst. The scenarios are evaluated using a real dataset composed of eighteen thousand career events from more than eight thousand individuals. Insights gained from this analysis are presented.


Card, S. K. ; Suh, B. ; Pendleton, B. A. ; Heer, J. ; Bodnar, J. W. TimeTree: exploring time changing hierarchies. IEEE Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology 2006 (VAST 2006); 2006 October 31 - November 2; Baltimore; MD; USA. Piscataway NJ: IEEE; 2006; 3-10.