Automated box-cox transformations for improved visual encoding

Ross Maciejewski, Avin Pattath, Sungahn Ko, Ryan Hafen, William S. Cleveland, David S. Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The concept of preconditioning data (utilizing a power transformation as an initial step) for analysis and visualization is well established within the statistical community and is employed as part of statistical modeling and analysis. Such transformations condition the data to various inherent assumptions of statistical inference procedures, as well as making the data more symmetric and easier to visualize and interpret. In this paper, we explore the use of the Box-Cox family of power transformations to semiautomatically adjust visual parameters. We focus on time-series scaling, axis transformations, and color binning for choropleth maps. We illustrate the usage of this transformation through various examples, and discuss the value and some issues in semiautomatically using these transformations for more effective data visualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6155715
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Box-Cox
  • Data transformation
  • color mapping
  • normal distribution
  • statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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