Data. We’re creating more of it every day then ever before. Big companies are using your data it and you might (not) be happy with what you get in return. anyway they are crunching your big data come up with big numbers or even a score for your profile.
Besides not being very transparent about the algorithms most of the time, they create a currency you need to trust based on a gut feeling, but that’s another story.
A good trend is more and more governments and institutions are opening up their datasets to let the public access their data. Whether it is because a governments is legally obliged or a company/institute believes it can benefit from opening up their sources, we have access to some data to play with.
Working with visual data has always been of interest:
Armed with a Silicon Graphics Indigo 2 Extreme desktop workstation with R4400 processor, four gigabyte hard drive, and 128 megabytes of RAM, Borchers uses IRIS Explorer an interactive 3D data visualization system to analyze data. The team’s datasets range in size from four to 20 megabytes (based on foot scans producing 300,000 points in x-y-z spatial datasets). 1999 web 1.0 link
Now that I have 128Mb of ram I thought I should give it a go. I chose processing as I used it before for different tasks and it’s is a good protoyping tool used by dataviz pro’s to make stuff like cascade (built by @blprnt at @nytlabs). Besides that, I recently had a nice re-intro to processing by @vormplus and I followed a workshop @p5Ghent.
If you’re interested here are some other tools as well
Having just missed the Ghent appsforghent challenge it felt a bit odd at first to use the data.gent.be sets, but I’m a local, and you should think local(but act global, which is why this post in in English).
An interactive explorative tool that allows you to visualise data on a map (of (part of) Ghent)
I wanted to express the fact that this particular place where I live is crowded, densely populated and this is why I started thinking about using physics. Particles bumping into each other, fighting for space.
This is far from finished but I thought I’d share this already.
It’s on github, next up is giving kids more space by mapping the demographic pyramids on this data and making the particles representing kids bigger. With the press of a button I could show what impact building a new high-rise flat will have in a certain area.
The user could set the desired sq meters of outdoor area per capita and see which neighborhoods are comfy and which are crowded. Much more thing a possible, but also a little more time is needed.
Right now it reads in map data from an SVG file, converts those shapes to box2D entities and populates them with particles.
The screenshot isn’t using the correct data yet but you don’t need a lot of imagination to see that it has more potential then the original
just using a map to display map related is a start and while that is an option on the site (which is a great source of info btw, well presented and all that) this static mapping doesn’t really say a lot. It’s crowded. period.
I’m just using this example to explore the possibilities of using physics for making sense to data. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to map phyisical properties to your data that in real life exhibits the same properties. I can imagine that if you need to sort certain types of data it could make sense to let them have a different density so some data floats while other would sink, while you’re actually visualizing eg. twitter vs. facebook.
to be continued