Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Visualizing Time-Oriented Data in Virtual Reality: An analysis of Star Wars check-out history at the Seattle Public Library
Junxiang Yao
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Science in Media Arts and Technology
Number of Pages
University of California, Santa Barbara
Thesis Supervisor
George Legrady
Supervisor e-mail
glegrady AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Marko Peljhan
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Media Arts and Technology
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Chinese
URL where full thesis can be found
Time-Oriented Data Visualization, Virtual Reality, 3D User Interface
Abstract: 200-500 words
As an exploration of visualizing information in a virtual reality environment, this project attempts to combine visual complexity with a convenient and manageable information presentation system, including ray-casting pointing and teleporting techniques. The data used in this project are daily check-out data of the Star Wars movies, from 2005 to 2018, retrieved from the Seattle Public Library, and the local news headlines on corresponding dates from the Seattle Times. This project was developed in Unity for the Oculus Rift headset and the Oculus Touch controllers. This project aims to design and develop an immersive data observing experience in a virtual reality environment by visualizing and organizing time-oriented data. A three-dimensional spiral timeline was implemented on a circular coordinate with a radius of 30 meters in the virtual scene. The height of each node on the spiral represents the daily check-out data of the movies. Since each lap of the spiral contains a data from one year, fourteen layers of data nodes from eleven categories (ten movies from the franchise and a sum category,) constitute the intricate structure with each node connects to its neighbors. The user could use a ray-casting pointer emitted from the right controller to activate the data contained in each data nodes. Because the size of this structure is too large for the user to observe the overview of the visualization, a mini-map with a radius of 15 centimeters was attached to the left controller. This mini-map contains a smaller replica of the full-scaled visualization, which enables the user to observe the overview with greater ease. To fill the significant gap in size between the mini-map and the full-scale structure, a scaling interface which would be used to shrink the scene was added so that the user could recognize more details in the overview. As for the displacement in the scene, the user will either walk within the region tracked by the Oculus sensors or pick a destination to teleport. The mini-map and the shrunken structure in the scaling interface mentioned above could also be used for teleporting, especially for the long-distance displacement.