MAT259 Visualizing Information(4 units)

George Legrady
Charlie Roberts

Lecture: Tuesday 11:00-1:00, Lab: Thursday 11:00-1:00 - e-studio/Arts2220

Course Description

A lecture and lab course to explore the aesthetic organization of information. Lectures and readings will focus on a range of conceptual models of data visual mapping as implemented in various disciplines, artistic, statistical and scientific, that are used to represent information visually.

Lecture 1.09 Introduction
  - Course goals & structure
- Literature Review
- Definitions of terms: Information Visualization, Scientific visualization, etc.

Lab 1.11 Processing
  - Introduction to the Processing environment
- Switchboard library: grabbing data from Google, Amazon, YouTube, del.icio.us etc.
- Basic display of data in Processing

Visualizing Knowledge Domains, Borner, et al

Lecture 1.16 Discipline Specific Perspectives
- Historical examples (Tufte)
- Information (news, statistics, etc.) to inform and persuade
- Scientific (NASA): to inform, clarify, reveal unexpected patterns
- Information retrieval, Library Science
- Social Science/Geography (GIS): data mapping,
- Artistic: to inform, explore the language of visualization, pure expression [1][2]

Lab 1.18 Introduction to XML/RSS
- Introduction to XML / RSS
- Parsing XML / RSS in Processing with the ProXML Library
- Parsing HTML in Processing using the ProHTML Library

Visualizing Knowledge Domains, Borner, et al

Lecture 1.23 The Classification, Organization and Processing of Data (doc)
- The collection of data
- The organization/correlation of data
- The processing of data
- Output the results

- Various classification methods (metadata)
- Social Classification

Lab 1.25 Object-Oriented Animation
- Creating classes in Processing
- Animating objects over time

Information Interaction Design: A Unified Field Theory of Design, Shedroff

Lecture 1.30 The Design Process (doc)
- Organization of Information
- Information Architecture
- Visual Communication

Lab 2.01 MySQL
Using MySQL with Processing

Organic Information Design, Ben Fry

Lecture 2.06 Concepts & General Principles of Design Processes (pdf)
- Principles & Methods
- Organizational Rules
- Form, Proportions (Golden Mean, etc.)
- Entry point, orientation, feedback, etc.

Lab 2.08 More MySQL
Principles of Database Design
Select and Join Queries

Organic Information Design, Ben Fry

Lab 2.13 Advanced Processing Visualization I
3D visualization in Processing
Using the OCD camera library
Lab 2.15 Advanced Processing Visualization II
Introduction to PHP

Lecture 2.20 Form, Aesthetics & Interactivity in Visualization

- Visual Communication origins: Constructivism | Concrete | Bauhaus | Swiss Graphic
- Form/Architecture: Hebert/Max Bill | Weissenhoff |
- Typographie [2] image & text, iconography [Feltron] [Sojamo]
- Fonts: Tschibold | Frutiger |
- Macro-micro information systems [Giedion][Warsaw Subway System]
- Principles of Color Relationships [Kandinsky] [colourlovers]
- Corporate Design: Vignelli | Mau | Projekttriangle | Designers Republic |

- Asymptote | Film Finder | Table Lens | Hyperbolic Geometry | Munzner [2] | Fry | Newsmap | SmartMoney | Baby Name Voyager | Wattenberg

Lecture 2.22 Data Visualization & Student Projects Discussion
Visual Complexity | Sunset | CatalogTree | Textarc | IBM Many eyes

Students discuss their projects & present Visual Complexity selections

Lecture 2.27 Narrative, Metaphor & Time Based Visualization
- Definition of Narrative (Genette)
- Still and time based visualization (Boissier, Comella)
- Invisible Shape of Things Past, Art+Com
- Study of a Numerically Modelled Severe Storm, UIUC (video)
- The Last Clock, Ängeslevä & Ross Cooper
- metaphor (Tufte) | conceptual metaphor (Lakoff)
- Tangent |

Lab 3.01
  1. Circulate a final project description. This description should include:

    • what data you are visualizing,
    • the reason why you have chosen the data,
    • any ideas you have about how the data might be visualized,
    • who your target audience for the visualization is and
    • how your data will be organized and accessed.
  2. Show your collected data. Hopefully at this point you will have your data in a form that is ready to be accessed. Examples of data structures ready to be parsed by Processing include RSS feeds and MySQL databases.

  3. Show task lists. Please identify the various components of the project you will need to complete and prioritize them in order of importance. Aim to provide informal sketches / storyboards to assist your description.

  4. Describe the technical format to be used.

    • Are you using Processing?
    • Will it be a project for web based dissemination or print, or?
    • What libraries will you need to use?

After the Storm, Baker and Bushell
Visual Explanations, Tufte

Lecture 3.06

Please be prepared to show and discuss the progress that you have made on your final project. Try to come up with some questions (either aesthetic or technical) for the class to help you with.

Lab 3.08 In this lab we would like to make sure that the navigation for everybody's project is well on it's way.

  1. How will users interact with the data that you present?
  2. What are the technical questions you might have about creating this navigation?
  3. What usability costs / benefits will result from your choices?

Please be prepared to discuss the work you've done on your project's navigation so far.


Lab 3.13 Please be prepared to give another short demo of the progress on your project. Again, try to come to class with questions that the class can help you with.

Lab 3.15 At this point, your project should be near completion. This is the final opportunity for feedback that will be offered before your project is turned in for a final grade. Remember, this project is 40% of the grade for the class, so aim to come to this session with your project ready for polishing

3.20 Final Project Presentations

ModelTunes - Basak Alper
Planning Databases for Visualization - Mark Daggett
Pepys Ballad Archive - Tassie Gniady
Costa Rica: Environmental and Socioeconomic Progress - Anna Knos
CarsGasLife - Antonio Medrano
Fulcrum Web - Frederico Teixeira

Visual Complexity | Information Aesthetics
CyberAtlas | Else/Where Mapping
Whitney Artport |

Time Series Data Library
Audioscrobbler - Web data for the Last FM internet radio software
iTunes RSS information
Facebook - A PHP library for accessing data from the popular social network
Craiglist - all sections of Craigslist are accessible via RSS feeds

InfoVis Indiana University
Kohonen Map Algorithm
Wolfram's New Kind of Science
Boids Craig Reynolds

MySQL Tutorial
XML Introduction
RSS Introduction

Course Reference Texts

Else/Where: Mapping New cartographies of Networks and Territories, Abrams/Hall
Information Visualization, Robert Spence, ACM Press
Information Visualization: Perception for Design, Colin Ware, Morgan Kaufmann
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte
Information Visualization, Chaomei Chen

- Completion of 5 short assignments 10% each
- Participation and Literature Review 10%
- Final Project 40%

The course is designed to accommodate both beginning and advanced students. Advanced students can skip small projects with grades focused on their research & production work.