Via 1.8.0

Via 1.8 brings many new major functionality along with a lot of improved functionality. For the first time in Via’s life, *Via might not be able to fully load via-files created by earlier versions of Via** due to the major changes we had to make for these new features. We apologize for this, but we hope that the following list of new and improved features makes this up:

  • Agents vs. Vehicles The data structures used in Via do now fully distinguish between vehicles and agents, in reaction to the similar change in the events produced by MATSim 0.8.0. This helps to better visualize and analyze some more advanced usages of MATSim like the simulation of shared vehicles, taxis or mini busses. In addition, several analyses now support the better distinction between agents and vehicles. The Select Link Analysis, for example, can now analyze the vehicles travelling on the selected link, or the passengers on these vehicles, allowing to create interesting analyses for public transportation as an example.
  • Managing Attributes Managing attributes for agents, vehicles, links, nodes, facilities as standardized and simplified by integrating the management of attributes into the regular layer setup dialogs (where colors, styles etc. are all set up). Even more complex attributes, like the dynamic link attributes or link difference attributes are now directly available from the layers’ setup dialogs. Thus, layers like ”Dynamic Link Attributes” or ”Network Difference” are now longer required nor available.
  • Visualization Improvements Several smaller improvements enable much more advanced visualizations. A few examples: (1) Labels on network links, vehicles or facilities can now be set to be zoom- dependent, appearing large when taking a detailed look at a small region, but being small or even hidden when looking at a large region. (2) Legs being performed by agents outside vehicles and possibly outside the network, in MATSim typically teleported modes, are now visualized as a dashed line when showing an agents day plan, enabling easier understanding of complex agents’ plans. (3) The size of vehicles can now be set to depend on attribute values, allowing to have different vehicles with different sizes.
  • Aggregate Vehicles to Links While MATSim offers a fully disaggregated simulation process, data often has to be aggregated to derive resilient results. An important aggregation target is the network. Via now offers a way to aggregate arbitrary attributes from vehicles onto links. Vehicle volumes (the number of vehicles passing a link) and average link speeds (the average of all vehicles passing a link) are examples that have been available as separate analyses already. Now, a generic, customizable analysis is available to derive these and other link attributes based on attribute values of vehicles on a link. This very powerful analysis allows for very specific attributes like the average age of drivers on links — and all of this fully time-dependent!
  • XY Plotter The XY Plotter received several major and minor enhancements: The XY plotter now supports displaying lines and areas, which can be styled (color, line-width) as used. In addition, data shown by XY plotter can be cut to a specific area to create sub-datasets or to optimize the visualization, and such reduced data can as well be exported again. As a last point, data points can be visualized in relation to the viewing area instead of the traditional coordinate system other data is shown in, allowing for custom, dynamic overlays.
  • Map Backgrounds Web Maps, part of the Map Backgrounds-plugin, were rewritten from scratch to offer improved and additional functionality: First, Web Maps are no longer missing when saving a VIA screenshot as PDF. Second, Web Maps now support transparent tiles to add overlays on top of existing visualizations. Third, Web Maps can be set to be semi-transparent in order to create better visualizations. And last, Via should provide better built-in support for detecting proxy settings, so Web Maps can more easily be used behind corporate internet gateways.
    Support for geo-referenced raster images was extended as well. Older versions of Via only supported GeoTIFF images, Via 1.8 now also supports georeferenced raster images in the following formats: PNG (.pgw as world file), GIF (.gfw), JPG (.jgw).
  • Movie Recorder The Movie Recorder-plugin received several enhancements: Encoding movies as MP4 (H.264) now produces smaller video files while encreasing the image quality. Apple ProRes is available as a new video format, especially suited for professional post-processing of Via movies. When creating movies from a series of screenshots, the size (width, height) of the resulting video can be scaled to create smaller movies.

In addition to the aforementioned major changes, the following new and improved functionality also exists in the latest Via version:

  • Memory Improvements. The new data-structures for vehicles and agents were designed in a way to use less memory. Other data structures, like for storing public transport schedules and related data, were also re-enginereed to use less memory. This allows to visualize larger and more complex scenarios on existing hardware.
  • LinkSpeeds. The unit of link speeds can now be set to meters per second (MATSim’s default), kilometers per hour, or miles per hour.
  • Loading Events. Loading huge events files sometimes randomly produced errors on Windows, which is now fixed.
  • Facilities can load attributes to visualize custom data. In addition, large facility datasets can be cut to a specific area and even be exported in order to create smaller scenarios or more manageable datasets.
  • Animation Speed can now be controlled by setting an exact value.
  • Gradient Selection is no longer possible only in Histogram, but for any selection of cells in the setup dialog.
  • Population v6 format. Via fully supports loading of the latest MATSim population file format.
  • Optimized Transit layers. The Transit Stats layer is no langer available, as its functionality was integrated into the Transit Schedule layer.
  • Compress/Uncompress in Via’s Tools menu allows to better work with MATSim’s gzipped files.
  • Custom Symbols. Custom symbols—introduced in the last version for XY plotter—can now also be used to style Vehicles and Facilities.
  • Aggregated parallel links. Some networks contain multiple links with the same from and to node due to modelling reasons. In visualizations, such parallel links often posed a problem, as only one of those links was visible in the end, as it was painted on top of the others. Via 1.8 can now aggregate such parallel links into one, allowing to visualize the aggregated state of the multiple links instead of a randomly single one. This also allows to easily visualize direction-independent values by optionally aggregating values from the link in the reverse direction.