Skip to main content
Make Data Work
Oct 15–17, 2014 • New York, NY

Highly Scalable Tile-Based Visualization for Exploratory Data Analysis

David Jonker (Uncharted Software Inc.), Rob Harper (Uncharted)
5:05pm–5:45pm Friday, 10/17/2014
Hadoop & Beyond
Location: 1 E20/1 E21
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 4 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Web delivery of maps using tiled rendering has benefited from years of work as popularized by Google Maps and others. With widespread use, map interactions have become familiar and make exploration of an abstract large data space easy, even enjoyable.

The same Tile-based methods provide a framework for large scale visualization that features any data attribute laid out continuously along two dimensions. Additional visual analytics divide the data into evenly sized hierarchical tiles, and then calculate and overlay annotations, such as the top five twitter hashtags for that region or top trending hashtags. As the user zooms in, the analytics shown become increasingly localized to their bounded region.

Using this technique the open source Aperture Tiles provides interactive data exploration with continuous zooming on large scale datasets. By leveraging big data software stacks Hadoop, Apache Spark and HBase for distributed computation and storage, the technique can scale to data sets with billions of data points or more. In this talk we review the Tile-based visual analytic methodology, challenges and highlight some example applications.

The approach is highly applicable to exploratory data analysis in big data contexts, such as zooming in to local brand conversations, root cause analysis in event sequences, and transaction flow anomaly detection.

Photo of David Jonker

David Jonker

Uncharted Software Inc.

David Jonker is EVP and a founder of Oculus. He is a visual analytics designer and technical architect with twenty years experience. David is interested in the visual elegance of information and the underlying visual and technical design to create powerful solutions.

Photo of Rob Harper

Rob Harper


Rob Harper is partner, lead product architect at Uncharted, and has been building technical platforms and products in the visualization industry for a decade. Over the past number of years Rob has been focusing on development of web-based HTML5 technology approaches for big data.