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I-Flight: Immersive Visual Analysis of Insect Flight Behaviour

The bees are dying globally and it is not well understood why. In response to this issue, the CSIRO has launched the Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health (GIHH) in 2015 with the aim to study the factors impacting on honey bee health. By means of attaching tiny RFID tags to the bees and respective readers to hives and feeder stations, bee activity is studied in-situ in their normal environment. Dedicated experiments are carried out to study how specific factors impact on bee behaviour and ultimately on their health. The data of all GIHH partners is stored in a central database at the CSIRO. Many bee activity measures can be computed from the data to assess their significance as an early indicator for honey bee health.

In this project, we developed I-Flight, a virtual reality based visual analysis system for insect movement data. I-Flight aids in understanding insect movements and collective flight behaviour in a simulated environment. Towards this end, I-Flight visualises insect flight paths in their natural, 3D geo-spatial context. We demonstrate the use of I-Flight for honey bee flight data and related environmental variables. The system is designed to be extendible to other insect flight data by adopting the data attribute space and the respective mapping onto visual variables, such as colours. The value of the I-Flight system is not only in complementing existing scientific methods and tools for understanding honey bee behaviour, but also in raising broader awareness for honey bee preservation through an engaging, immersive environment.


Dr. Huyen Nguyen (Lead), Decision Sciences, CSIRO Data61
Florence Wang, Information Management and Technology, CSIRO
Dr. Raymond Williams, Cyber-Physical Systems, CSIRO Data61
Dr. Ulrich Engelke, Decision Sciences, CSIRO Data61
Alex Kruger, Information Management and Technology, CSIRO
Prof. Paulo de Souza, Cyber-Physical Systems, CSIRO Data61


2016 – 2017