Visual exploration of migration patterns in gull data

Maximilian Konzack (Corresponding author), Pieter Gijsbers, Ferry Timmers, Emiel van Loon, Michel A. Westenberg, Kevin Buchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


We present a visual analytics approach to explore and analyze movement data as collected by ecologists interested in understanding migration. Migration is an important and intriguing process in animal ecology, which may be better understood through the study of tracks for individuals in their environmental context. Our approach enables ecologists to explore the spatio-temporal characteristics of such tracks interactively. It identifies and aggregates stopovers depending on a scale at which the data is visualized. Statistics of stopover sites and links between them are shown on a zoomable geographic map which allows to interactively explore directed sequences of stopovers from an origin to a destination. In addition, the spatio-temporal properties of the trajectories are visualized by means of a density plot on a geographic map and a calendar view. To evaluate our visual analytics approach, we applied it on a data set of 75 migrating gulls that were tracked over a period of 3 years. The evaluation by an expert user confirms that our approach supports ecologists in their analysis workflow by helping to identifying interesting stopover locations, environmental conditions or (groups of) individuals with characteristic migratory behavior, and allows therefore to focus on visual data analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-152
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Visualization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • animal behavior
  • data visualization
  • geovisualization
  • spatio-temporal visualization
  • Visual analytics


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