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Main / DataVisualizationChallenge


The goal of this project is to learn about open source data visualization tools. My aim is to complete the challenge. This challenge.

Test Project

I wanted to do a little getting my feet wet before working with a massive data set, just to get involved in the idea of visualization.

I created the above, very basic, visualization using XMind. The above is an anonymized version of my polycule. The character polycule from a popular poly comic, Kimchi Cuddles, inspired me to make my own polycule diagram a while back. Now, I'd like to create a nicer visualization for this as a test project for the visualization challenge.

I found this pretty diagram (of character co-occurrence in Les Mis) through D3.js, and I thought that it might work out well as a test project. Go go gadget learning!

Test Project Progress

  • September 26
    • visualization
      • added the Bl.ocks extension for Chrome
      • decided to test the app using the code that's offered with the Les Mis data
      • attempted just copying in the Index page and then adding the URL, but that came up with a 404 error
      • tried the blocks extension, and it said "file not found" (same happened when I tried with just the JSON, which makes sense)
      • added the JSON file to the index file using Add File button, tried the block extension and same error
      • tried making the Gist public (from secret previously) and that also didn't help
      • checked in with sen, comparing the original gist with mine, and learned that titles of the files are actually more filenames than titles, and that I had done it wrong (I had just called them INDEX and JSON)
      • once I updated the filenames, everything worked just fine
    • the data
      • the biggest roadblock I have starting out, given the tools, isn't actually that I can't graph the data, rather, I'm not sure how to work with the data that I have
      • there was a question about this in the GitGist I was using in the above example, someone who wrote "im novice in d3. can someone tell me how you define node , group , value and target." - using this comment (that was never replied to) as a starting point, I headed back to the D3 site and its associated documentation git
      • luckily, they have a lot of tutorials, so I started out looking here, and here - unfortunately, they weren't super relevant
      • so I tried looking up the actual data set used for this graph, which gave me good news and bad news (data set found here: this chart is pulled from data that are WAY more complicated than my data are, and, mathematically, doesn't give me a lot of information on how to group my (much simpler) data set in order to make it compatible with the graph format I'm looking at
      • I also found this, however, an updated data set based on the original (found in the Stanford GraphBase - which led me to think that maybe I need to chart my data, and then parse it to get it into an acceptable format
  • later on September 26
    • after talking to sen about all kinds of things, I decided just to enter the data manually into JSON because the other things I had considered doing were less applicable overall to the data visualization challenge
    • I re-created the same gist that I created above with the test code (copy and paste), changed "miserables.json" in the index file to "polycule.json", and attempted to modify the JSON for the polycule data by creating a node for each node in the Xmind file, and then assigning the following values:
      • each individual branch on the polycule gets its own group
      • between me and my direct "child" nodes:
        • 1: my pets; 2: my closest partners; 3: my more distant local partners; 4: my long-distance partners; 5: my platonic significant others
        • each relationship involving an other-than-human animal is assigned a value of 1
      • between my "child" nodes, each relationship involving an other-than-human animal is assigned a value of 1, all other relationships are assigned a value of 2
    • copied and pasted into gist
    • generated chart through bl.ocks chrome extension, but it came up blank
    • ran the JSON through a validator, found two errors, and when I corrected them: IT WORKED! I MADE DIS!
      • NOTE: I realized after I generated the graph that the logic of a force-directed graph actually doesn't work at all for a polycule. BUT STILL. Learning! and pretty.

  • Micki Kaufman Workshop - Gephi, September 30, 2016
    • I did this little practice project during an SCDS Demystifying Digital Scholarship workshop with Micki Kaufman, who worked a bit with this software during the two hour session, and I played with this while Micki talked.
    • what I did:
      • download Gephi
      • watch Micki's demo (sorry - that I can't recreate)
      • import data from Text Wrangler into Excel (copy and paste)
      • Text to Columns
      • Remove superflous characters " and } (find and replace)
      • try to import to Gephi, crash Gephi
      • save as CSV
      • Import to Gephi
      • used this resource from the Gephi git to create an initial render

I decided to play with Gephi because of the conceputal flaws in using force-directed graphs to chart polycule data from a politicized perspective. So far, it seems very usable, and I will be able to create something pretty, and perhaps less conceptually flawed, if less 3D and interactive than with the bl.ocks app.

Actual Visualization Challenge

Page last modified on September 30, 2016, at 04:17 PM