We’re very excited to be starting this project and getting underway. Initial project meetings have mapped out our timeline and initial goals and now we’re off to survey some of the existing libraries available for producing interactive visualizations at a more in depth level. By the end of the project, we aim to have easy to use wizards to produce network diagrams, world choropleth maps, and spatial treemaps as interactive visualizations. The problem as I see it is that often researchers have data in spreadsheet or even desktop visualization software, but lack an easy way to transition this to a native web format.
We’d like to tackle this problem in part by focusing on geospatial data and network data. While a number of libraries and tools exist, many of these require either the ability to code and/or that the viewer of the visualization have additional plugins (Flash, Java, etc.). We’ll address this by building some of the missing components using native web technologies and also by building web interfaces to create visualizations without the need to write code. We are also considering trying to have all the components we build/use work offline so that they could be used in ebooks and other emerging formats.
We’re very pleased to be invited to present this work at a one-day learning technology conference at the Oxford University Computing Services entitled “Beyond Books.” We’ve been working to evaluate existing platforms and developing prototypes for network and choropleth maps first. We hope to have these prototypes and our slides from the upcoming presentation online soon; so, please stay tuned for updates. Critical to our project’s success will be feedback, suggestions, and feature requests from producers and viewers of visualizations!