Comparing Methods to Visualize Orientation of Photographs: A User Study

Jonas Bruschke, Markus Wacker, Florian Niebling In: Niebling, F., Münster, S., Messemer, H. (Eds.), Research and Education in Urban History in the Age of Digital Libraries. UHDL 2019. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 129-151. 2021
Comparing Methods to Visualize Orientation of Photographs: A User Study


We present methods to visualize characteristics in collections of historical photographs, especially focusing on the presentation of spatial position and orientation of photographs in relation to the buildings they depict. The developed methods were evaluated and compared in a user study focusing on their appropriateness to gain insight into specific research questions of art historians: 1) which buildings have been depicted most often in a collection of images, 2) which positions have been preferred by photographers to take pictures of a given building, 3) what is the main perspective of photographers regarding a specific building. To analyze spatial datasets of photographs, we have adapted related methods used in the visualization of fluid dynamics. As these existing visualization methods are not suitable in all photographic situations—especially when a multitude of photographs are pointing into diverging directions—we have developed additional cluster-based approaches that aim to overcome these issues. Our user study shows that the introduced cluster-based visualizations can elicit a better understanding of large photographic datasets concerning real-world research questions in certain situations, while performing comparably well in situations where existing methods are already adequate.