Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

David S. Ebert

Committee Chair

David S. Ebert

Committee Member 1

Niklas Elmqvist

Committee Member 2

Yun Jang

Committee Member 3

Ji Soo Yi


Recent advances in technology have enabled people to add location information to social networks called Location-Based Social Networks (LBSNs) where people share their communication and whereabouts not only in their daily lives, but also during abnormal situations, such as crisis events. However, since the volume of the data exceeds the boundaries of human analytical capabilities, it is almost impossible to perform a straightforward qualitative analysis of the data. The emerging field of visual analytics has been introduced to tackle such challenges by integrating the approaches from statistical data analysis and human computer interaction into highly interactive visual environments. Based on the idea of visual analytics, this research contributes the techniques of knowledge discovery in social media data for providing comprehensive situational awareness. We extract valuable hidden information from the huge volume of unstructured social media data and model the extracted information for visualizing meaningful information along with user-centered interactive interfaces. We develop visual analytics techniques and systems for spatial decision support through coupling modeling of spatiotemporal social media data, with scalable and interactive visual environments. These systems allow analysts to detect and examine abnormal events within social media data by integrating automated analytical techniques and visual methods. We provide comprehensive analysis of public behavior response in disaster events through exploring and examining the spatial and temporal distribution of LBSNs. We also propose a trajectory-based visual analytics of LBSNs for anomalous human movement analysis during crises by incorporating a novel classification technique. Finally, we introduce a visual analytics approach for forecasting the overall flow of human crowds.