Polaris: A System for Query, Analysis and Visualization of Multi-dimensional Relational Databases

Chris Stolte and Pat Hanrahan
Computer Science Department
Stanford University

Information Visualization 2000.


In the last several years, large multi-dimensional databases have become common in a variety of applications such as data warehousing and scientific computing. Analysis and exploration tasks place significant demands on the interfaces to these databases. Because of the size of the data sets, dense graphical representations are more effective for exploration than spreadsheets and charts. Furthermore, because of the exploratory nature of the analysis, it must be possible for the analysts to change visualizations rapidly as they pursue a cycle involving first hypothesis and then experimentation.

In this paper we present Polaris, an interface for exploring large multi-dimensional databases that extends the well-known Pivot Table interface. The novel features of Polaris include an interface for constructing visual specifications of table-based graphical displays and the ability to generate a precise set of relational queries from the visual specifications. The visual specifications can be rapidly and incrementally developed, giving the analyst visual feedback as they construct complex queries and visualizations.

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Chris Stolte
Last modified: Sat Aug 5 12:12:31 PDT 2000