Visual analytics is the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by visual interactive interfaces and resulted from field information visualisation and scientific visualisation, focusing on analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces [Thomas 2005]. It can help with problems whose size and complexity require closely coupled human and machine analysis [Kosara 2007]. Visual analytics brings together several scientific and technical communities from computer science, information visualisation, cognitive and perceptual sciences, interactive design, graphic design, and the social sciences. It aims to advance science and technology developments in analytical reasoning, interaction, data transformations and representations for computation and visualisation, analytic reporting, and technology transition [Kielman 2009].
Visual analytics integrates new computational and theory-based tools with innovative interactive techniques and visual representations to enable human-information discourse. The design of the tools and techniques is based on cognitive, design, and perceptual principles. For example, analytical reasoning is central to the analyst’s task of applying human judgements to reach conclusions from a combination of evidence and assumptions. Therefore, visual analytics which can combine and summarise combinations of various information sources according to different assumptions can prove invaluable [Thomas 2005].
James J. Thomas and Kristin A. Cook (Ed.) (2005). Illuminating the Path: The R&D Agenda for Visual Analytics National Visualization and Analytics Center. p.4.
Robert Kosara (2007). Visual Analytics. ITCS 4122/5122, Fall 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2008.
Kielman, J. and Thomas, J. (Guest Eds.) (2009). "Special Issue: Foundations and Frontiers of Visual Analytics". in: Information Visualization, Volume 8, Number 4, Winter 2009 Page(s): 239-314.