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Model Visualization Focus Area

Model Visualization Task Objective & Systems Modeling Environment (SME) Scope

  • Elaborate concepts, requirements, and metrics for effective visualization of system model and related data that support the next generation system modeling language (SysML v2)
  • Identify a set of services that support visualization, consistent with the System Modeling Environment goals

Summary Documents


Model Visualization Context

Model visualization. The SME must provide the following flexible and rich visualization and reporting capabilities to support a broad range of consumers of the model content:

  • Viewpoint – A viewpoint is a defined way of understanding the content of a system model. A viewpoint is implemented as a collection of one more views, which are transformations of subsets of the model content into visualizations of various forms. Views within a viewpoint are interoperable and may include standard diagrams, custom diagrams, data plots, geographic information, MCAD rendering, ECAD rendering, simulation results, tables, trees, text, and numerous other types.
    • Data Model
      • Type
        • Relational/Tabular
        • Graph
        • Etc.
      • Schema
        • Objects
        • Attributes
    • Data Sources
      • Data Format
      • Data Location
      • Access Credentials
        • Viewer ID
        • Read/Write Permissions
      • Data Model Mapping (data sources on to data model)
        • Queries
        • Filters
    • View Definitions
  • Abstract View Definition– An abstract view definition provides the building blocks from which each of the views within a viewpoint are composed.
  • Extensible framework for creation of user-defined and domain-specific view definitions
  • Extensible framework for relating MBSE visualizations to other domain views (i.e. Mechanical and Electrical CAD, schematics, etc.)
  • Data Model mapping (data model onto view objects)
    • Filtering
    • Conditional mapping
  • Interactive behaviors
    • View Interactive behaviors (e.g. layout, color, zoom, text justification)
    • Model Interactive behaviors (e.g. perform validation, analysis, add properties)
  • Compare/difference views of model data (element, diagram and data set levels)
  • Visualize model execution
  • Static and dynamic view generation
  • Type
    • Diagram
    • Text
    • Etc.
  • Diagram View Definition – The diagram view is of special interest to the SME. The following are additional properties required to create diagram view definitions.
    • Extensible framework for creation of user-defined and domain-specific diagram view definitions
    • Standard diagram type definitions
    • Graphical definitions (dependent on view objects created in data model to view object mapping)
      • Node UI definition
      • Edge UI definition
      • Port UI definition
      • Drawing UI definition
    • Layout definition (dependent on diagram style object created in data model to view object mapping)
      • Styles
      • Properties
      • Constraints
    • Topology Definition
      • Nodes own drawings, ports
      • Drawings own nodes, edges
      • Edges connect nodes to nodes, optionally additionally specifying source and target ports
    • Defined graphical and layout styles for the standard diagram types
    • Semantic filter, zoom and pan capability
  • View Export – A view is displayed as a set of view objects which represent a subset of the underlying model. It must be possible to export these data objects.
  • Static and dynamic view export
    • View object export
    • Model export
  • Document generation
  • Standards support (e.g., diagram definition)


SysML v1.x Limitations for Model Visualization

  • Separation of Model Construction from Visualization
    • Diagram construction left to modeler
    • Model elements can be removed, but added elements cannot be automatically added to diagrams
    • Some tool capabilities to auto-create, but not necessarily rule-based
  • Specification of SysML Diagrammatic Views
    • Appearance of SysML diagrams is fixed with no facility for user-defined rules
    • Modelers sometimes make modeling choices to accommodate immediate needs, resulting in more work later or deferring robust modeling
  • View Construction and Layout
    • Layout of diagram elements manual requiring manual maintenance
    • Facility for “semantic zoom”
  • In-Work, Changed Data and Model Compare
    • The current spec is silent on visualizing changes and differences between model baselines

Use Cases - Model Visualization

  1. Model Construction views are used day-to-day to build and otherwise work with the model. They conform to the guidelines for diagramming in the UML and SysML specifications. But, we anticipate intelligent interactive features to be laid on top of these diagrams. Some of these features might include:
    • Easy expand and collapse of nested nodes
    • Hide and show of nodes and edges by filtering (e.g. meta class, stereotype, or other criteria)
    • Color or otherwise highlight based on repeatable rules (e.g. meta class, stereotype, or other criteria)
    • Creation of meta edges to show nested connections when a node is collapsed
    • Focus in on one node and those things that connect to it (e.g. show neighborhood)
    • Show related nodes according to model-aware queries (e.g. for a chosen block on a BDD, show other blocks that transitively contribute to the definition of that block by either generalization or composition)
    • Allows editing of model
  2. Domain Specific views are those used to address the Concerns of a Stakeholder in the sense of ISO 42010.
    • These diagrams are free to conform to any display rules – they do not need to be valid UML/SysML diagrams
    • They may conform to any existing diagrammatic standard or convention, or to ad hoc rules
    • They must be based on rules and rigorous transformations of the model so that they are repeatable
    • May or may not allow editing of model
  3. Version and Configuration Management views are Domain Specific views that address stakeholder concerns regarding managing changes to the model
    • We feel this is a common, and very important, use case that merits its own discussion
    • Many version control systems for software provide such diagrammatic views
    • These typically show the history and relations of versions and merges over time, or line-by-line comparison of files
    • Comparison of of models is significantly more complex than comparison of source code in text files
    • Important to compare the underlying model content, and present the differences both diagrammatically and in text form
  4. Interactive vs. Static
    • All of the above use cases can be implemented either as static diagram, or interactive user interfaces

Services - Model Visualization

The following spreadsheet represents the visualization group's latest attempt to identify those SME/SysML 2.0 Services that require the Visualize Model capability. In the process of filling in this table, we have also identified several new Services that we feel are required for the Visualization capability. Teams working other capabilities can review these new functions to determine which are relevant for their Capability.

00-sysml_v2-services-with_visualization_input_-_2016-01-27.xlsx Model Visualization Services

Performance: MoE - Measures of Effectiveness

  • Ability to represent model data in a variety of forms
  • Ability to navigate between model views
  • Ability to navigate to model views from other disciplines (Engineering and other)
  • Ability to define ad hoc views of model data

High Level Intent / Driving Requirements

  • The next-generation modeling language and tools must enable visual representation of model data in a variety of forms.
  • Visualization must easily navigate to/from model data to other visualizations from other Engineering (and Program Disciplines)
  • Visualization must include non-diagrammatic views (tables, matrices, etc.)
  • Visualization must support both static and dynamic representations
  • Visualization must support SE Use Cases
  • Visualizations should be initially simple
  • Visualizations should provide easy access to associated data (meta data)
  • Visualization should provide some ability to manage appropriate data from the visualization back to the model



DateAuthorDescriptionWeb Link


00-sysml_v2-services-with_visualization_input_-_2016-01-27.xlsx Model Visualization Services
block_diagram_visualization_example-bruce_powell_douglass.ppt Domain-Specific Visualization Example (from Bruce Douglass)

The Model Visualization Focus Area Team

Name Organization email
Chris Schreiber Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Josh Feingold Tom Sawyer Software
Marc Sarrel NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
Elyse Fosse NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
Ahsan Qamar Ford Motor Company

Back to SysML Assessment and Roadmap Working Group

sysml-roadmap/model_visualization_working_group.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/22 10:39 by cschreiber