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Visualisation for household energy analysis: techniques for exploring multiple variables across scale and geography

Goodwin, S. (2015). Visualisation for household energy analysis: techniques for exploring multiple variables across scale and geography. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The visualisation of large volumes of data can provide rich and meaningful representations that enable users to gain insights quickly and efficiently. Household energy consumer characteristics are explored in this thesis using innovative interactive visualisation techniques. Initial research with energy analysts, from a major UK utility company, investigates visual possibilities and opportunities for future (smart home) energy analytics and explicitly uses creativity techniques for information visualisation requirements gathering. The results, along with exploratory visual analysis combining geodemographic groups and energy consumption, identifes a need for profiling consumers by typical traits. While energy consumption has been a popular topic of research in recent years, there is still limited understanding of the relationship between energy consumption and measurable characteristics of the general population. An investigation of the process of creating an energy-based geodemographic classification led to the proposal and design of a new theoretical framework for visually comparing multivariate data across scale and geography; a necessary step when selecting reliable variables for running clustering algorithms, such as during the geodemographic classification creation process.

The framework for including geography and scale in multivariate comparison forms the major contribution of this thesis. This framework is demonstrated and justified through the building of an interactive visualisation prototype, using input variables deemed relevant for consideration for energy-based geodemographic classification. Important transitions in the framework are highlighted in the proposed design, which uses both statistical and spatial representations. The utility of the framework is validated in the context of energy-based geodemographic variable selection where the multivariate geography of the UK is explored. The sensitivities of varying scale and geography { through varying resolution, extent and the calculation of locally weighted summary statistics { are investigated in context and are shown to be important elements to consider during the variable selection process. The broader applicability of the framework is demonstrated through two further scenarios where multivariate visualisation across scale and geography is shown to be important. The research provides a framework and viable solutions through which geographical visual parameter space analysis (gvPSA) can be undertaken. It uses a design science approach that results in a series of artifacts that open up new visualisation possibilities. This project covers a wide topic where the breadth of research options is extensive and many possibilities for continued research are identified.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > giCentre
Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
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