SolarMap: Multifaceted Visual Analytics for Topic Exploration

Documents in rich text corpora often contain multiple facets of information. For example, an article from a medical document collection might consist of multifaceted information about symptoms, treatments, causes, diagnoses, prognoses, and preventions. Thus, documents in the collection may have different relations across each of these various facets. Topic analysis and exploration for such multi-relational corpora is a challenging visual analytic task. This paper presents SolarMap, a multifaceted visual analytic technique for visually exploring topics in multi-relational data. SolarMap simultaneously visualizes the topic distribution of the underly- ing entities from one facet together with keyword distributions that convey the semantic definition of each cluster along a secondary facet. SolarMap combines several visual techniques including 1) topic contour clusters and interactive multifaceted keyword topic rings, 2) a global layout optimization algorithm that aligns each topic cluster with its corresponding keywords, and 3) 2) an optimal temporal network segmentation and layout method that renders temporal evolution of clusters. Finally, the paper concludes with two case studies and quantitative user evaluation which show the power of the SolarMap technique.