Category:Data Visualization Labs

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These exercises involve creating visualizations of data of various types.


For each of experiment you must:

  • create a data visualization based on one or more of the Introduction to data visualization visualization types we have discussed
  • use data that is publicly available online, and cite your data source
  • explain why the visualization technique you chose is appropriate to the data you used
  • discuss one way you could appropriately visualize this data as a physical object or machine (saying that you could simply take your 2D visualization and make it into a derivative 3D physical object is not an acceptable answer).
  • conceptual creativity and visual design creativity are awarded extra credit

Useful resources

You may find the Processing code examples created by Daniel Shiffman for his book, Learning Processing, to be helpful in getting started with creating lines, curves, charts, and more advanced visualizations in Processing.

IBM's DeveloperWorks has also posted a useful introduction to data visualization using processing, broken up into 3 parts. Part 1 (Drawing basic shapes and text), Part 2 (User interaction and object-oriented coding), Part 3 (3D).

There are many libraries built for Processing that may help you create visualizations. Of particular interest may be:

Experiment #1: Visualizing a single series of data

Pick a single data series and create an appropriate data visualization technique for it using Processing.

A single series contains one set of values for a single variable. An example might be data representing your height for every year of your life, NYU's tuition fees over the last 10 years, or the relative popularity of the top 10 pet Chihuahua names.

Experiment #2: Visualizing the comparison of multiple sets of data

Take multiple data series and make a visualization in Processing that allows someone to easily compare them visually. Use a different visualization technique than you did for the previous experiment.

Experiment #3: Animated visualization

Find a data source that changes in real-time, and visualize the data in Processing using an animation that updates in real-time.

Examples include using the Twitter API to visualize the frequency of particular keywords on Twitter posts, or real-time readings from a pressure sensor placed beneath a toilet seat.

Make it look good, interesting, and appropriate for the data.

Extra Credit // Experiment #4: sensor-based data visualization in 3D

Use sensor data from an Arduino circuit of your own that feeds a data visualization done in 3D in Processing. Share a video of your project in action and post all source code and a circuit diagram.

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