Correct guides, such as axes and legends, are an important part of creating an understandable visualization. Guides contextualize the other visuals by providing information about the source data and analysis process. Despite inherent ties to analysis already specified, most visualization programming libraries do reuse the existing specification. Automatic guide creation based on the analysis specification can be performed if the visualization program semantics are well defined and proper metadata is supplied. This paper presents high-level execution semantics for visualization-supporting analysis. These semantics are used with selected metadata to automatically construct guides. The Stencil visualization system includes an implementation of the presented guide system. Stencil is used to explore advantages, limitations and possible extensions to the proposed system. The principles presented can be applied to other visualization frameworks that include programmable analysis. Implementation of automatic guide creation simplifies the construction of visualizations, and can ultimately lead to higher quality visualizations.
Joseph A. Cottam, Andrew Lumsdaine, "Declarative Guide Creation" in Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Visualization and Data Analysis, 2017, pp 22 - 33, https://doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2017.1.VDA-386