VAST Challenge 2015

Dataset Image


The Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST) Challenge is an annual contest with the goal of advancing the field of visual analytics through competition. The VAST Challenge is designed to help researchers understand how their software would be used in a novel analytic task and determine if their data transformations, visualizations, and interactions would be beneficial for particular analytic tasks. VAST Challenge problems provide researchers with realistic tasks and data sets for evaluating their software, as well as an opportunity to advance the field by solving more complex problems.

Researchers and software providers have repeatedly used the data sets from throughout the life of the VAST Challenge as benchmarks to demonstrate and test the capabilities of their systems. The ground truth embedded in the data sets has helped researchers evaluate and strengthen the utility of their visualizations.

Mayhem at DinoFun World

This year’s VAST Challenge presents two related mini-challenges and an overall Grand Challenge for your consideration. The challenges are open to teams and individuals in academia, industry, and government.

This year, we would like to encourage participants create innovative visualizations to support their analyses of the data. There will be many different features within the data sets that could use creative approaches, so even if your particular approach doesn’t address the entire Challenge problem set, please enter and show us your new ways of working with this data.


Note: This scenario and all the people, places, groups, technologies, contained therein are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, places, groups, or technologies is purely coincidental.

DinoFun World is a typical modest-sized amusement park, sitting on about 215 hectares and hosting thousands of visitors each day. It has a small town feel, but it is well known for its exciting rides and events.

One event last year was a weekend tribute to Scott Jones, internationally renowned football (“soccer,” in US terminology) star. Scott Jones is from a town nearby DinoFun World. He was a classic hometown hero, with thousands of fans who cheered his success as if he were a beloved family member. To celebrate his years of stardom in international play, DinoFun World declared “Scott Jones Weekend”, where Scott was scheduled to appear in two stage shows each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to talk about his life and career. In addition, a show of memorabilia related to his illustrious career would be displayed in the park’s Pavilion.

However, the event did not go as planned. Scott’s weekend was marred by crime and mayhem perpetrated by a poor, misguided and disgruntled figure from Scott’s past.

While the crimes were rapidly solved, park officials and law enforcement figures are interested in understanding just what happened during that weekend to better prepare themselves for future events. They are interested in understanding how people move and communicate in the park, as well as how patterns changes and evolve over time, and what can be understood about motivations for changing patterns.

The Challenges

Mini-Challenge 1

Mini-Challenge 1 focuses on movement of people around the park. You are being asked to characterize the movement of groups and individuals, with a special emphasis on what might be relevant to better understanding the incident that occurred in June 2014.

Mini-Challenge 2

Mini-Challenge 2 asks you to dive into the communications over time that took place among the park visitors using the park app. Linkages between visitors and among park patrons and park staff could reveal behaviors of interest.

The Grand Challenge

The Grand Challenge requires you to blend your knowledge obtained from the two mini-challenges to answer questions of interest to law enforcement officials. How was the crime executed and who was responsible?

Projects (1)