Web-based Visual Exploration Improves Radiological Source Detection

Fig. 1: Visualizing data collection locations and support for visual “queries” for data sub-setting.

Scientific Achievement

Developed web-based system [1] that integrates data management and visual analysis to facilitate access to large amounts of observational data, supporting algorithm development for finding radiological material.

Significance and Impact

Finding radiological material can help prevent nuclear and radiological attacks. Reliable detection in uncontrolled environments requires effective algorithms that take observations (e.g., background radiation) into account. Downloading the data and exploring it on an analyst’s desktop using traditional tools are impractical due to the size of the data.

Research and Details

  • Integration of data management techniques (SQL, FastBit), web server backend and modern HTML5-based front end to support interactive analysis on web browsers

  • Use of FastBit to perform histogram computation for spectra on-the-fly, avoiding the need to store pre-computed histograms and supporting flexible parameter choice (bin-size)


  • Gunther H. Weber


  1. G. H. Weber, M. S. Bandstra, D. Chivers, H. H. Elgammal, V. Hendrix, J. Kua, J. Maltz, K. Muriki, Y. Ong, K. Song, M. Quinlan, L. Ramakrishnan, and B. J. Quiter, “Web-based Visual Data Exploration for Improved Radiological Source Detection,” Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, vol. 29, no. 18, p. e4203, Sep. 2017.