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Research in Geovisual Analytics

Prof Mikael Jern

National Center for Visual Analytics (NCVA) is a Swedish national resource funded 2008 through the Swedish Knowledge Foundation's (KK-Stiftelsen) Visualization Program including VINNOVA, SSF, ISA and Vårdalstiftelsen and our industrial and government research partners. NCVA will help to spread geovisual and visual analytics technology into industry and government agencies. "Geovisual analytics applied to large statistical data" (SCB, OECD etc)  - See this 2009 BBC acknowledgement: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8130554.stm. Other important research projects include "Visual Analytics for Mobile Communication Networks" ANROSS Mobile in collaboration with Ericsson Research funded by VINNOVA and a Wallenberg project (VISE) Vise related to Education in geovisual analytics represent latest research projects.

                                                                                                                       Professor Mikael Jern


Applied research will be carried out by NCVA in the context of a number of applications, drawn from diverse areas associated with the activities of our partners, showing the generality of the underlying framework. Each of these applications can also be seen as a demonstrator of the technology. In this work, we will follow a ‘science-to-solutions’ approach to address the entire research, development and deployment process. The strong engagement by industry and public service partners that depend on state-of-the-art Geovisual Analytics tools will guarantee that users will be involved from the start and will participate in the definition of the applied research agenda. The partners will, in turn, gain access to front line research, prototypes and components for integrating new and innovative Geovisual Analytics tools.

Below are six examples of our applied research in Geovisual Analytics developed and verified in close collaboration with our partners SCB, Ericsson Research, SMHI and Göteborg Stad:


Summary NCVA Slide





Figure: Example of recognized and published research projects at NCVA


The NCVA History


The original NCVA research group in August 2008.

NCVA research group 2008From left Dr. Ho Van Quan, Tobias Åström,Dr. Sara Johansson, Dr. Patrik Lundblad, Dr. Jimmy Johansson and in the back Prof. Mikael Jern who is the manager for NCVA.













NComVA founders

In May 2010, a spin-off company NComVA AB was created by Prof. Jern together with Tobias Åström, Dr Patrik Lundblad and Dr Ho Van Quan.

NComVA was acquired by the business intelligence company QlikTech in May 2013. http://businessintelligence.com/bi-news/qliktech-bolsters-advanced-visualization-with-acquisition-of-ncomva/

NCVA will, however, continue its applied research and present advanced geovisual analytics and information visualization software technology for education and research usage.  








Research and Commercial Background of Prof Mikael Jern


inkjet plotterDuring 1971-1976, he worked with his mentor Professor Hertz at the University of Lund. Together they invented the Color Graphics System based on the first ink jet plotter for raster based visualisation software in the world.

The generation of a colour picture is done in two steps. First a picture entirely consisting of numbers is designed. The computer works with logical ones and zeros instead of physical droplets, where the ones correspond to droplets on the paper. The raster coded picture is stored on a magnetic tape, which in the second step is read by the Color Plotter, The raster information on the tape is then transformed into a colour picture.




inkjet plotter













In 1981 he founded UNIRAS Aps to address the industry with a more general-purpose raster graphics software approach. UNIRAS A/S, UNIRAS Ltd and UNIRAS Inc became world-leading suppliers of Visual Data Analysis and Presentation graphics software for scientists and engineers with a revenue exceeding $25 million in 1987. UNIRAS was also a supplier of raster software to IBM, Tectronix and Versatec. When Advanced Visual Systems (AVS) acquired UNIRAS in 1993, he was appointed to the position of AVS Fellow to recognize his contributions to the evolution of AVS. Prof Jern is committed to graphics standards and was the project leader in a joint UNIRAS-IBM project to develop the standard graphics software system (GKS) for IBM in Hursley UK. He has been a member in various graphics metafile committees supporting CGM, GKS etc. He has coordinated several large EC funded projects INDEX, NOVICE, CONTENTS, SmartDoc and MUSIC in the domain of knowledge-based information visualization and result in large academic and industry network. These projects developed innovative Web based visualization technology based on both VRML and downloadable Web components. CONTENTS and SmartDoc are early novel EC research projects to create dynamic visualization documents (see publications below).

He has also consulted with the EC Commission as a technical expert in visualization. He has published more than 200 technical papers and several books in visual computing and visualization application areas and has been a frequently invited keynote speaker at international conferences. At SIGGRAPH 93, he was elected "pioneer of computer graphics" based on his ground breaking research together with professor Hertz in raster graphics. In Sept 1999, he returned to academic research and was appointed professor at Linkoping University, Sweden to continue his research now with focus on geovisual analytics and storytelling - completed a recognized EC-funded visual flood forecasting system (MUSIC) in collaboration with University of Bologna. In May 2008, he founded NCVA (Swedish National Center for Visual Analytics) with financial support from the Swedish Knowledge Foundation (VINNOVA) and commercial partners Unilever Research Port Sunlight, Ericsson Research, Statistics Sweden, SMHI, SCB, etc. and in close collaboration with OECD created awareness and interest for advanced geovisual analytics in the statistics domain. This achievement resulted in an honourable invitation by OECD to become an “associate” member, domain expert and supplier of strategic Web visualization tools to OECD. In 2010, NCVA introduced innovative technique for Statistics Publishing on the Web with an objective to deliver interactive visualization to educators and their students to get informed and at the same time participate in increasing the knowledge on how life is lived and can be improved. This project is today funded by the Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond. Based on his successful research in geovisual analytics applied to statistics data, a spinoff company NComVA AB was established in May 2010 together with his PhD students. NComVA is today a world leader in advanced statistics visualization with many international and nation statistical organizations  (EUROSTAT, OECD, IMF, IEA, ISTAT, SCB, SKL, Pensionsmyndigheten, Boverket, MSB, LÖF, SFI and many regional and municipality organisations)  the Statistics eXplorer and Publisher products. In 2012, with financial support from VINNOVA Forska&Väx and Tillväxtverket NComVA enters the visual business intelligence market as a technology partner to QlickView.

He still gives invited presentations at international conferences about Statistical Visualisation and Storytelling (Europe 2020, NTTS, Nordic Statistics, VINNOVA Big Data, iDays Open Data, etc.)

In 2007, the Swedish Museum of Science created and published his life story based on a collection of interviews available at http://www.tekniskamuseet.se/download/18.6aa228912529fe96108000123/12_Mikael+_Jern.pdf

He has long experience in “Big Data and Open Data” issues and implementations collaborating with leading edge users at OECD, EUROSTAT, SCB, IMF, Swedish government and Regional Swedish organizations.


Page manager: mikael.jern@liu.se
Last updated: 2015-01-29