3 Key Temporal Analysis Features of an Investigative Analytics Platform

Temporal analysis is a broad label covering anything related to analyzing time aspects of data. Understanding the chronology of events and patterns is critical to thorough analysis, yet becomes difficult as the quantity of data grows. In this post I’ll describe how Visallo supports temporal analysis in three key areas.

Timelines

Timelines are a staple of most investigative analytics platforms. They’re essential for understanding the chronology of events or visualizing trends. It’s a key to meaningful analysis.

Visallo’s timeline visualization can be invoked when using the graph or map tools. This timeline provides a chronological view and analyzes all information on a graph or map, finds the date properties, and displays them in the appropriate section of the timeline. The timeline can accommodate multiple date types per entity, displaying the entity in multiple locations along the timeline corresponding to each date value. With many entities and multiple date values for each one, the timeline can get cluttered. Fortunately, each date type can be toggled on or off in the timeline settings so you see only the specific date types you’re interested in. The timeline also supports zooming, panning, and precise time selection controls to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Temporal Searching

Searching is the most basic form of temporal analysis, yet also the most commonly used. The best investigative analytics platforms will provide multiple methods to search on date values and Visallo is no exception.

Visallo provides several filters to search for dates, including before date, after data, and date range searches. Each of these three search types can operate with fixed or relative date values. Fixed date values are specific and static points in time while relative date values change over time. Examples of relative date values include “before one year ago” and “after three months ago”. Relative date searches are especially useful as saved search criteria which makes it easy to periodically run a search over a moving timeframe, such as “the last two weeks”.

Histograms

Histograms aren’t traditionally considered a temporal analysis tool but there are plenty of great ways to incorporate dates within histograms. For example, Visallo histograms quickly summarize selections of data with automatically calculated counts, averages, and specifically for temporal analysis, time ranges. With a simple click, you’re able to drill down into specific date ranges to find particular datasets of interest to your investigation.