Theses and Dissertations


Chad A. Steed

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swan II, Edward J

Committee Member

Jankun-Kelly, T.J.

Committee Member

Allen, Edward

Committee Member

Fitzpatrick, Patrick

Committee Member

Moorhead II, Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


A global transformation is being fueled by unprecedented growth in the quality, quantity, and number of different parameters in environmental data through the convergence of several technological advances in data collection and modeling. Although these data hold great potential for helping us understand many complex and, in some cases, life-threatening environmental processes, our ability to generate such data is far outpacing our ability to analyze it. In particular, conventional environmental data analysis tools are inadequate for coping with the size and complexity of these data. As a result, users are forced to reduce the problem in order to adapt to the capabilities of the tools. To overcome these limitations, we must complement the power of computational methods with human knowledge, flexible thinking, imagination, and our capacity for insight by developing visual analysis tools that distill information into the actionable criteria needed for enhanced decision support. In light of said challenges, we have integrated automated statistical analysis capabilities with a highly interactive, multivariate visualization interface to produce a promising approach for visual environmental data analysis. By combining advanced interaction techniques such as dynamic axis scaling, conjunctive parallel coordinates, statistical indicators, and aerial perspective shading, we provide an enhanced variant of the classical parallel coordinates plot. Furthermore, the system facilitates statistical processes such as stepwise linear regression and correlation analysis to assist in the identification and quantification of the most significant predictors for a particular dependent variable. These capabilities are combined into a unique geovisual analytics system that is demonstrated via a pedagogical case study and three North Atlantic tropical cyclone climate studies using a systematic workflow. In addition to revealing several significant associations between environmental observations and tropical cyclone activity, this research corroborates the notion that enhanced parallel coordinates coupled with statistical analysis can be used for more effective knowledge discovery and confirmation in complex, real-world data sets.