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It's a vis(ualisat)ion thing

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  • It's a vis(ualisat)ion thing

    I feel a bit cheeky for asking, but I need a little help with something: I'm putting together a presentation for which I'm looking for some good examples of data visualisation that have in some way effected real-world human behaviour (as well as being eye candy!).

    I've got a few good visualisation examples already... stuff like the spread of Walmart stores, the U.S. aircraft movements, clarified's animations of the botnet IRC channel joins and Dan K's logs (anyone got the HD version, btw?) as well as some funky stuff the BBC did of London taxis - and of course, the amazing work of Hans Rosling on Debunking third-world myths, but I was wondering if the folks here are aware of any more?

    I was really hoping that something like the AA (Automobile Association)'s 'Roadwatch' traffic information might yield a good example (as in the information causing motorists to alter their behaviour because of access to visualised data, but alas, all they can manage is a google map of traffic cams (that don't work) and a premium rate phone number.

    The background to my pitch is a little convoluted... Our (non-profit) company designs, installs and maintains renewable energy systems, a fair proportion of which go into public buildings, schools etc.

    The hardware vendors each have their own way of performing datalogging functions, each of which sucks in it's own particular way. Some provide a wireless link to a display/logger with a USB port, some use a RS485 bus and provide a logger with a web interface, others require a windows box c/w MSSQL and access to an SMTP server, others a simple RS232 port to grab a .csv.

    Since most of the schools etc contract out their IT to a multitude of different firms, you can imagine the nightmare this presents regarding even getting anything out of their networks, let alone installing 3rd party apps on 'their' machines.

    Basically, I'm pitching for funding for a project to provide those that need it with a dedicated box (eee box or similar) and build a site that will correlate all their (and others) data real-time, plus get the code developed (open source, natch...) to string it all together.

    It's potential as a classroom teaching and 'community building' tool is easily demonstrated, but if I can 'hit a home run' regarding demonstrating it's potential, or rather the effectiveness of good data visualisation generally, to actually alter behaviour (in this case, energy consumption habits) in a manner that the cashtards will find particularly compelling, the availability of funds is somewhat increased.

    There's a bit of a twist in the motive, in that I want the frontpage to plot against this data (plus any that can be drawn from 'smart meters'), so as to inject a little brutal reality into the equation. If you don't get it, feel free to play a game of 'spot the renewables' in the sankey diagram on page 3 of this pdf.

    Having seen the DAVIX stuff, I thought perhaps there might be people here that might have come across something suitable. Any hints (or other examples of good/useful/innovative visualisation) would be greatly appreciated.


    [Mods: feel free to move this to /dev/random if approriate]

  • #2
    Re: It's a vis(ualisat)ion thing

    Originally posted by BackatchaBandit View Post
    Basically, I'm pitching for funding for a project
    [Mods: feel free to move this to /dev/random if appropriate]
    I don't have any problem with what you have included in your posts. You are not asking *us* for funding, and it doesn't look spammy.

    It looks like you are looking for more examples and for more people with interests similar to your interest in this project. All of these are related to past Defcon presentations. That really does make this an item for community talk. (Additionally, auditing is part of security, and analysis of logs or audited content is also related to security because of auditing.)

    I/we have issue when people try to sell things through the forums though, so just avoid asking for investors, or attempt to sell things through the forums unless one of the mods provides exception for you.

    Good luck with answers! :-)

    [The above content is provided to help you and any lurker that wonders about content and what might be considered inappropriate for community talk.]
    Last edited by TheCotMan; January 14, 2009, 14:47.