VAST Challenge 2017 MC3


Mini-Challenge 3 Overview

Mitch Vogel, the ornithology student who is most concerned about the plight of the Rose-crested Blue Pipit, is able to get around some of the nature preserve to study the bird, but because of the terrain and the vegetation he is not able to cover the entire preserve with a car or on foot. Drones and air vehicles would scare the birds making it difficult to assess the extent of the possible problem. While he puzzles out how to get a more complete picture, he talked with one of his professors at Mistford College who suggested he look at imagery over the area over the past few years.

Perhaps, the professor mused, there have been changes in the flora that are related to issues with fauna. Mitch thought this kind of associated study may be informative, so the professor provided him with some images of the preserve collected by the National Space Service. However, they are multi-spectral image files, which Mitch had never dealt with before. The image analysis packages he found online were very complicated to work with, so he has asked you, a visual analytics expert, to help him view and understand this data. He understands that you are a visual analytics expert and an insightful analyst, even if you are not an expert image analyst.

Use visual analytics to analyze the available data and develop responses to the questions below. In addition, prepare a video that shows how you used visual analytics to solve this challenge. Novel visualizations and analysis approaches are especially interesting for this mini-challenge. Applications you develop, as opposed to using existing tools, that emphasize good visualization practices and that enable insightful analytic exploration, are also encouraged. Please do not use any other data in your work (including other Internet-based sources or other mini-challenge data).

You may use tools you developed in other VAST Challenges in your efforts – please let us know when you do so!


  1. Boonsong Lake resides within the preserve and has a length of about 3000 feet (see the Boonsong Lake image file). The image of Boonsong Lake is oriented north-south and is an RGB image (not six channels as in the supplied satellite data). Using the Boonsong Lake image as your guide, analyze and report on the scale and orientation of the supplied satellite images. How much area is covered by a pixel in these images? Please limit your answer to 3 images and 500 words.
  2. Identify features you can discern in the Preserve area as captured in the imagery. Focus on image features that you are reasonably confident that you can identify (e.g., a town full of houses may be identified with a high confidence level). Please limit your answer to 6 images and 500 words.
  3. There are most likely many features in the images that you cannot identify without additional information about the geography, human activity, and so on. Mitch is interested in changes that are occurring that may provide him with clues to the problems with the Pipit bird. Identify features that change over time in these images, using all channels of the images. Changes may be obvious or subtle, but try not to be distracted by easily explained phenomena like cloud cover. Please limit your answer to 6 images and 750 words.

Download the Submission Form and the Data

Click on the link below to see the Submission Instructions. Enter your email in the box below to download the data for this mini-challenge. This email will be used if the conference organizers need to contact you regarding any corrections to the mini-challenge.

VAST Challenge 2017 Submission Instructions

VAST Challenge 2017 MC3: Download Files
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Page last modified on Tuesday, April 25, 2017