UFO-Tracker: Visualizing UFO sightings

Vinh T. Nguyen, Vung Pham, Tommy Dang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


analyzing geospatial and temporal observations are common tasks for many application domains. In this paper, we introduce UFO-Tracker, a visual analytic tool for analyzing unidentified flying object sightings from the National UFO Reporting Center. The goal here is to give the user a higher level view of where different types of sightings occur, to investigate whether sightings are increasing or decreasing over time, to discover the connections between different events which might happen at different geographic areas, and to quickly identify typical incidents at a given period of time without reading the whole sightings through topic modelling. Multiple visualization and data mining techniques are combined to make sense the increasingly large UFO reports which get updated hourly. The usefulness of the application is evaluated through a case study where anon-expert in ufology can find some typical interesting sightings. Our application can also be able to detect some misleading events such as missile launch or fireworks on a specific day through keywords and topic extraction. One limitation of our application is the data which is not up-to-date when new sightings are posted since the application pulled and processed data locally. Our initial application targets UFO sighting reports. However, we believe our approach has wider applications in other research domains, such as analyzing text corpus obtained from social media.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018
EditorsYang Song, Bing Liu, Kisung Lee, Naoki Abe, Calton Pu, Mu Qiao, Nesreen Ahmed, Donald Kossmann, Jeffrey Saltz, Jiliang Tang, Jingrui He, Huan Liu, Xiaohua Hu
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781538650356
StatePublished - Jan 22 2019
Event2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2018Dec 13 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018


Conference2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Unidentified Flying Objects
  • dot plots
  • geospatial temporal visualizations
  • topic modelings
  • word clouds


Dive into the research topics of 'UFO-Tracker: Visualizing UFO sightings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this