The InteractiveVis project, funded by JISC from May to September 2012, aims to allow easy creation of interactive visualisations for geospatial and network data using native web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, and SVG) and allow these visualisations to be self-contained so that they may run entirely offline in ebooks and other media. The project will survey existing solutions and build the necessary components to fill in missing features and smooth over incompatibilities in between existing libraries. The project will further provide online hosted wizards to allow for the easy creation of these interactive visualizations. All code developed will be open-source. Our initial project proposal follows.
Interactive visualisations for teaching, research, and dissemination
Interactive visualisations are useful for communicating complex information in a simple manner and are useful in research dissemination, teaching materials, and ebooks. The majority of visualisations, although distributed electronically, are static, like their paper predecessors. Interactivity allows for the communication of more information as well as for in-depth user exploration of the data. In addition to use in research outputs, visualisations are also a useful step during active research to grasp patterns in data and spot abnormalities.
This project will deliver online components to allow the easy creation of web-based interactive maps and network diagrams by researchers through a step-by-step wizards. These visualisations may be embedded, downloaded, used-offline in ebooks and teaching materials, etc. to communicate data. Components for visualisation—for example, choropleth maps, spatial treemaps, and network diagrams—will be developed and tested. Feedback will be solicited and incorporated in an interactive, agile development process.
Interest within the department (as well as outside of it) will sustain development of these components beyond this initial project. In addition, the network visualisation component will be used for the dissemination of output from a JISC-funded Big Data project, which will lead to further interest and development (e.g. visualising change over time in network maps online). All code developed will be open-source and hosted in an online repository.
The project team is composed of Doctoral Student and Research Assistant Scott Hale, Doctoral Student Josh Melville, Information Officer Kunika Kono, Geographer Dr Mark Graham, Cognitive Scientist Dr Monica Bulger, and Political Scientist Prof Helen Margetts.