Hermes: Guidance-enriched Visual Analytics for economic network exploration

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Abstract
The economy of a country can be modeled as a complex system in which several players buy and sell goods from each other. By analyzing the investment flows, it is possible to reconstruct the supply chain for the production of most goods, whose understanding is important to analysts and public officials interested in creating and evaluating strategies for informed and strategic decision making, for instance, adjusting tax policies. Those networks of players and investments, however, tend to be complex and very dense, which leads to over-plotted visualizations that obfuscate precious information such as the dependencies between productive sectors and regions. In this paper, we propose Hermes, a guidance-enriched Visual Analytics environment (named after the Greek God of Commerce) for the exploration of complex economic networks, to uncover supply chains, regions’ productivity, and sector-to-sector relationships. With practical knowledge regarding guidance, we designed and implemented a visual sub-graph querying approach to extract patterns from such complex investment graphs obtained from real-world data. We present a three-fold evaluation of the system: we perform a qualitative evaluation of our approach with three domain experts, a separate assessment of the proposed guidance features with an expert researcher in this field, and a case study of Hermes using a bank account network dataset to demonstrate the generalizability of our approach.
Year of Publication
2020
Journal
Visual Informatics, Elsevier
Volume
4
Start Page
11 - 22
Issue
4
ISSN Number
2468-502X
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visinf.2020.09.006
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