Transitions in Dynamic Point Labeling

Authors Thomas Depian, Guangping Li , Martin Nöllenburg , Jules Wulms

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Author Details

Thomas Depian
  • Algorithms and Complexity Group, TU Wien, Austria
Guangping Li
  • Algorithm Engineering Group, TU Dortmund, Germany
Martin Nöllenburg
  • Algorithms and Complexity Group, TU Wien, Austria
Jules Wulms
  • Algorithms and Complexity Group, TU Wien, Austria

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Thomas Depian, Guangping Li, Martin Nöllenburg, and Jules Wulms. Transitions in Dynamic Point Labeling. In 12th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2023). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 277, pp. 2:1-2:19, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


The labeling of point features on a map is a well-studied topic. In a static setting, the goal is to find a non-overlapping label placement for (a subset of) point features. In a dynamic setting, the set of point features and their corresponding labels change, and the labeling has to adapt to such changes. To aid the user in tracking these changes, we can use morphs, here called transitions, to indicate how a labeling changes. Such transitions have not gained much attention yet, and we investigate different types of transitions for labelings of points, most notably consecutive transitions and simultaneous transitions. We give (tight) bounds on the number of overlaps that can occur during these transitions. When each label has a (non-negative) weight associated to it, and each overlap imposes a penalty proportional to the weight of the overlapping labels, we show that it is NP-complete to decide whether the penalty during a simultaneous transition has weight at most k. Finally, in a case study, we consider geotagged Twitter data on a map, by labeling points with rectangular labels showing tweets. We developed a prototype implementation to evaluate different transition styles in practice, measuring both number of overlaps and transition duration.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Computational geometry
  • Human-centered computing → Geographic visualization
  • Dynamic labels
  • Label overlaps
  • Morphs
  • NP-completeness
  • Case study


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