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VAST Challenge 2018 MC1


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Mini Challenge 1 Overview: "Cheep" Shots?


In 2017, the VAST Challenge results suggested that the Kasios Furniture manufacturing company may have been a primary contributor to the apparent reduction of the number of nesting pairs of the Rose-Crested Blue Pipit, a favorite bird of Mistford residents and Boonsong Lekagul Nature Preserve visitors. Kasios supposedly used the banned substance Methylosmolene in their manufacturing process. They surreptitiously dumped process waste in the northeast region of the Preserve (mini-challenge 1 from 2017) and Methylosmolene was detected in their smokestack emissions (mini-challenge 2 from 2017).
Kasios now claims that the analysis was flawed and biased. To combat these conclusions, Kasios has launched their own “investigation” into the Pipit situation, and they are now reporting that there are plenty of Rose-crested Blue Pipits happily living and nesting in the Preserve. To back up this claim, they have provided a set of Pipit bird calls, recently recorded across the Preserve, with locations of where they were recorded. Clearly, they claim, the Pipits are a thriving population, and Kasios will provide even more supporting evidence as their investigation proceeds.
In last year’s Challenge, an ornithology grad student from Mistford College named Mitch Vogel discovered the plight of the Pipit and carried out an investigation. Normally, we would call on Mitch again to help validate Kasios’ claim. Unfortunately, Mitch is working far from Mistford in a remote area without internet access for an extended time and cannot be easily reached!
The Pangera Ornithology Conservation Society, who sponsored Mitch last year, is at their wit’s end at what to do about this turn of events. The townsfolk and Preserve rangers seem satisfied that the recordings back up Kasios’ claims. Mistford College does not have another Pipit expert they can call upon for help. But, they do have a collection of bird calls from the Preserve that has been vetted by various ornithology groups as having accurate identifications. They have heard that new techniques from machine learning and visual analytics can be applied to situations like this. Perhaps, the calls could be classified and analyzed using these technologies, and reviewed when Mitch returns.

Tasks and Questions:

  1. Using the bird call collection and the included map of the Wildlife Preserve, characterize the patterns of all of the bird species in the Preserve over the time of the collection. Please assume we have a reasonable distribution of sensors and human collectors providing the recordings, so that the patterns are reasonably representative of the bird locations across the area. Do you detect any trends or anomalies in the patterns? Please limit your answer to 10 images and 1000 words.
  2. Turn your attention to the set of bird calls supplied by Kasios. Does this set support the claim of Pipits being found across the Preserve? A machine learning approach using the bird call library may help your investigation. What is the role of visualization in your analysis of the Kasios bird calls? Please limit your answer to 10 images and 1000 words.
  3. Formulate a hypotheses concerning the state of the Rose Crested Blue Pipit. What are your primary pieces of evidence to support your assertion? What next steps should be taken in the investigation to either support or refute the Kasios claim that the Pipits are actually thriving across the Boonsong Lekagul Wildlife Preserve? Please limit your answer to 500 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 2018 Submission Instructions

VAST Challenge 2018 MC1: Download Files
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FAQ and Updates

  • There is an update to the Data Description concerning the location of last year's dumping incident. Please see "Data Description Update 2018-5-4" in the downloads for the change.


Page last modified on Friday, May 04, 2018

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