Objects in the Rear View Mirror
Project due 11/5 at 9 pm Chicago time
Project 3 will be the second
group project and the focus here will focus on geographic
We will again have 3 people per group. You can chose who you
want to be in a group with, but you must work with different
people in each project.
As with Project 2 you should very quickly set up a web page
for your new group project and send the URL to andy. Each
Friday of the project each team member should post on the
project web site an overview of what he/she did on the project
In this project we are going to take a look at data related to
highway deaths from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, and in particular their Fatality Analysis
Reporting System at http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx
There is a great deal of data available on the Query FARS Data
tab. Data is available from 1994 through
2010. We will be using the data starting in 2001 when latitude
and longitude values appear.
The goal of the project is to produce an application that lest the
user easily investigate this dataset to look for patterns, trends,
and interesting features. What are the most important factors that
affect highway fatalities? Are things getting better or worse and
why? Where are the most dangerous places, driving conditions,
The project will involve both graphs and maps as the major
visualization elements. Graphs will be good for showing the
numeric data and breakdowns of that data into categories (type of
vehicle, pedestrians / drivers / occupants, age, sex) as well as
looking at that data raw or per population, miles traveled, type
of roadway, whether alcohol was involved, etc, and organized by
year, month, time of day, weather. You should also be able to
graph the data by state but it will be important to correct for
population differences. Maps will be useful to mark the specific
locations of these incidents.
We will be focusing on Illinois and how the Illinois data compares
to the national data.
You will want to condense some of the data types (e.g. car body
type) and convert many of the numeric categories (e.g. car body
type, atmospheric conditions) into English names in the interface.
C you need ...
B you need to add ...
- able to view a single variable over all years and see the
relative affect of different variables (weather, alcohol,
speed, type of vehicle, age of driver, day of week, month of
year, hour of day, etc) for Illinois
- easily browse through the available data choosing different
years, and data to graph
- map(s) should update to show the locations of the events
currently shown in the graph
- the map should do all of the things you would expect - easy
panning and zooming, ability to change the map style, and
should initially show an appropriate region at an appropriate
- touch an event location on the map and get more data about
- handle missing/unknown data well
- interface should respond quickly to the user
an A you need to add ...
- view combinations of variables simultaneously (raining and
late at night) and/or multiple values for a given variable
(i.e. compare fatalities on the weekend to Mondays)
- view trends in the data
- glyphs on the map show the same data as in the graph in a
compact but effective way (i.e. not just showing the location
of an incident, but additional features about it)
- be able to cluster the data on the map and graph (i.e. if I
zoom our or into the map or graph the data should form into
clusters or clusters should break apart into individual
- add another state aside from Illinois for comparison
- view data (maps and graphs) from any of the 50 US states
- add several more interesting fields from the database
- integrate other demographic information (e.g. how many
people are in a given age range, how many people live in that
state, to see if the crash statistics match or not)
- discuss five interesting findings or evidence to support
conclusions using the interface
- integrate events that may affect this data to look for
correlations (changes in speed limits, different kinds of cars
people are driving, drunk driving laws, etc, gas price changes
/ gas shortages)
There are various map libraries available for processing. Modest
Maps seems like the best choice for the project.
Unfolding maps (http://unfoldingmaps.org) is another popular map
library but doesn't seem stable with the current 2.0 beta versions
You should create a set of web
pages that describe your work on the project. This should
which should have plenty of screenshots with meaningful
captions. Web pages like this can be very
helpful later on in helping you build up a portfolio of your
work when you start looking for a job so please put some effort
- 1 page on how to use your application and the things you can
do with it.
- 1 page on the data you used including where you got it, what
you did to it.
- 1 page with links to the source code and any instructions
necessary to install and run it. These instructions should
start from the assumption that the reader has a web browser on
their computer and tell the user everything else he/she needs
to know to get the code and get it running.
- 1 page on what interesting things you found using your
- 1 page on the roles of the different team members
Be sure to document any external libraries or tools that you make
use of - give credit where credit is due.
should also create a 2-3 minute YouTube video showing the use
of your application including narration with decent audio
quality. That video should be in a very obvious place on your
main project web page. The easiest way to do this is to use a
screen-capture tool while interacting with a scaled-down
version of the application, though you will most likely find
its useful to do some editing afterwards to tighten the video
up. Its also a good idea to have a video like this available
as a backup during your presentation just in case of gremlins.
You may want to shoot
this video on the wall itself from a phone with one of your team
page including screen snapshots and video need to be done by the
deadline so be sure to leave enough time to get that work done.
I will be
linking your web page to the course notes so please send me a
nice 1280 x 361 jpg image of your visualization for the web.
This should be named
When the project is done, each person in the group should also
send me a private email ranking your coworkers on the project on a
scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high) in terms of how good a coworker
they were on the project. If you never want to work with them
again, give them a 1. If this person would be a first choice for a
partner on a future project then give them a 5. If they did what
was expected but nothing particularly good or bad then give them a
3. By default your score should be 3 unless you have a particular
reason to increase or decrease the number. Please confine your
responses to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and no 1/3ds or .5s please. I will
average out all these scores for projects 2 through 4 and keep
them in mind when assigning final grades to projects 2 through 4.
Each group will present their work to the
class and describe its features to the rest of the class. Rehearse your presentation
... several times. All team
members are expected to participate equally in that
presentation. The length of the presentations will be 5 minutes.
During each talk each group in the audience should write one
good question for the speaking group, and hand it to them at the
end of their presentation. The speaking group should add a page
to their website by Thursday 11/08 giving the questions (and the
group who asked it) and an answer to the question.
last revision 10/22/12 - changed dataset range to start at 2001