VAST Challenge 2014: Mini-Challenge 1



IEEE VAST Challenge 2014 is open for submissions! The VAST Challenge uses the Precision Conference System (PCS) to handle the submission and reviewing process. PCS is available at https://precisionconference.com/~vgtc/. If you do not already have a login for the system you must register first. Once you are logged into your account please choose VAST 2014 Challenge under “new submissions” and follow the instructions.

Frequently-asked questions will be added at the bottom of this page as they are received. Check back frequently for updated information.


Note: This scenario and all the people, places, groups, technologies, contained therein are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, places, groups, or technologies is purely coincidental.

In the roughly twenty years that Tethys-based GAStech has been operating a natural gas production site in the island country of Kronos, it has produced remarkable profits and developed strong relationships with the government of Kronos. However, GAStech has not been as successful in demonstrating environmental stewardship.

In January, 2014, the leaders of GAStech are celebrating their new-found fortune as a result of the initial public offering of their very successful company. In the midst of this celebration, several employees of GAStech go missing. An organization known as the Protectors of Kronos (POK) is suspected in the disappearance, but things may not be what they seem.

It is January 21, 2014, and as an expert in visual analytics, you are called in to help law enforcement from Kronos and Tethys assess the situation and figure out where the missing employees are and how to get them home again. Time is of the essence.

Your Task

Mini-Challenge 1 focuses on the disappearance. As an analyst, your task is to bring law enforcement up to date on the current organization of the POK and how that organization has changed over time, as well as to characterize the events surrounding the disappearance.

Use visual analytics to analyze the available data and develop responses to the questions below. In addition, prepare a video that shows how you used visual analytics to solve the challenge. Submission instructions are available on the VAST Challenge 2014: Submission Instructions page. Entry forms are available for download below.

Questions for Participants

  1. Provide a visual representation of the structure of the Protectors of Kronos network, with supporting evidence.
  1. Who are the leaders?
  2. Who is part of the extended network?
  3. How has the group structure and organization changed over time?
  4. Where are the potential connections between the POK and GAStech?
Provide novel visualizations appropriate for communicating key information to the busy leaders of the investigation. Please limit your response to no more than eight images and 500 words.
  1. Describe the events of January 20-21, 2014. What is the timeline of events? Please limit your response to no more than ten images and 500 words.
  2. Identify at least two possible explanations why the GAStech employees may be missing. What evidence do you have to support each of these explanations? Please limit your response to no more than three additional images and 200 words.

Available Data

As an analyst, you have the following data at your disposal:
  • A map of Kronos
  • A chart describing the local GAStech organization, in PDF format.
  • A spreadsheet of GAStech employee records, in Microsoft Excel format. The primary worksheet contains the data; the index worksheet contains the data dictionary
  • Email headers from two weeks of internal GAStech company email, in comma-separated values (CSV) format
  • Resumes and short biographies of many, but not all, of the GAStech employees, in Microsoft Word format
  • Historical reports and descriptions of the countries involved, in Microsoft Word format
  • Relevant current and historical news reports from multiple domestic and translated foreign sources, in text file format. Because these articles have come from multiple sources and original formats, some of the them may contain corrupted characters, which is typical for this type of data. These corrupted characters should not interfere with your ability to analyze the data.
Please note - alternate data formats can be obtained by contacting vast_challenge at ieeevis.org.

Download the Datasets, Entry Forms, and Documentation

Enter your email address below to download the datasets, entry forms, and documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Is it OK for us to use the Mini-Challenge 2 map to support Mini-Challenge 1?

Answer: Yes, this is OK.

Page last modified on Monday, June 23, 2014