L. Yu, K. Efstathiou, P. Isenberg, and T. Isenberg
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 18(12), 2245-2254, 2012
Data selection is a fundamental task in visualization because it serves as a pre-requisite to many follow-up interactions. Efficient spatial selection in 3D point cloud datasets consisting of thousands or millions of particles can be particularly challenging. We present two new techniques, TeddySelection and CloudLasso, that support the selection of subsets in large particle 3D datasets in an interactive and visually intuitive manner. Specifically, we describe how to spatially select a subset of a 3D particle cloud by simply encircling the target particles on screen using either the mouse or direct-touch input. Based on the drawn lasso, our techniques automatically determine a bounding selection surface around the encircled particles based on their density. This kind of selection technique can be applied to particle datasets in several application domains. TeddySelection and CloudLasso reduce, and in some cases even eliminate, the need for complex multi-step selection processes involving Boolean operations. This was confirmed in a formal, controlled user study in which we compared the more flexible CloudLasso technique to the standard cylinder-based selection technique. This study showed that the former is consistently more efficient than the latter—in several cases the CloudLasso selection time was half that of the corresponding cylinder-based selection.