Project 4

When the Wind Blows

Project due 11/28 at 9 pm Chicago time

This will be the third group project. This project is going to focus more on finding patterns in unstructured data and presenting information effectively.

Group size this time will be 3 or 4 people per group. You can chose who you want to be in a group with, but you will be working with different people in each project.

As with Projects 2 and 3 you should very quickly set up a web page for your group project and send the URL to Andy and Arthur. 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 that week.

Each year for Viz Week there are a variety of challenges posted to see which groups around the world can most effectively use visualization to solve problems. We are going to look at the 120 MB dataset from the 2011 mini challenge 1 - Geospatial and Microblogging - Characterization of an Epidemic Spread,  which is mostly time-stamped and location-stamped text messages from a one month period.

the data is available at

The solution to this mystery is available, so finding the solution is not the object here. The goal here is to create a tool using the touch-screen wall to easily and effectively sift through and investigate the data, and show that the given solution is the best match for the data and that the other possible causes are less likely. People are getting sick. Is it an accident or a criminal / terrorist act? Is it a truck crash, or a plane crash, or a gas line explosion or a bomb or just a normal flu outbreak?

Your tool should allow the user to:

For a C you need to

Create the tool described above to let people easily and effectively visualize this dataset.

For a B you need to

Document why the given solution is the solution, using your tool. Your tool should make this obvious. This very likely will mean that you will need to enhance or modify your tool.

For an A you need to

Investigate and document the various possible causes for the epidemic and detail, using your tool, why they are or are not likely solutions. Your tool should make this obvious. This will involve doing comparisons / contrasts between different possible solutions. This very likely will mean that you will need to enhance or modify your tool.

You should create a set of web pages that describe your work on the project. This should include:
all of 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 into it.

Be sure to document any external libraries or tools that you make use of - give credit where credit is due.

You 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.

The web 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. For this project the web page will be particularly important.

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 p4.<someone_in_your_groups_last_name>.jpg. 

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 7 minutes. During each talk each group in the audience should write one 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 Tuesday 12/04 giving the questions (and the group who asked it) and an answer to the question.

last revision 11/13/12 - deadline is now 11/28 & presentation time now 7 minutes