Accompanying video of dx.doi.org/10.1109/TVCG.2008.152
Abstract: In many information visualization techniques, labels are an essential part to communicate the visualized data. To preserve the expressiveness of the visual representation, a placed label should neither occlude other labels nor visual representatives (e.g., icons, lines) that communicate crucial information. Optimal, non-overlapping labeling is an NP-hard problem. Thus, only a few approaches achieve a fast non-overlapping labeling in highly interactive scenarios like information visualization. These approaches generally target the point-feature label placement (PFLP) problem, solving only label-label conflicts. This paper presents a new, fast, solid and flexible 2D labeling approach for the PFLP problem that additionally respects other visual elements and the visual extent of labeled features. The results (number of placed labels, processing time) of our particle-based method compare favorably to those of existing techniques. Although the esthetic quality of non-real-time approaches may not be achieved with our method, it complies with practical demands and thus supports the interactive exploration of information spaces. In contrast to the known adjacent techniques, the flexibility of our technique enables labeling of dense point clouds by the use of non-occluding distant labels. Our approach is independent of the underlying visualization technique, which enables us to demonstrate the application of our labeling method within different information visualization scenarios.