Final Exam - Spring 2011

Crazy Train

The final exam will include a typical individual data visualization phase, but it will also include a group data collection phase. So far you have been visualizing data that has been collected / generated / stored by others in the way that they decided to do those tasks. Having seen how their decisions affected your ease of visualization, now you get to make some decisions up front on how to collect data to make it easier to visualize.

In particular we are going to visualize the movement of a CTA train car while going along the train line.

At minimum you should collect accelerometer (preferable in 3 dimenions) data, GPS (location) data, clock (time) data.

Your first decision will be to pick a train line into or out of the loop for study. The blue line west and the green line west  are pretty close to straight lines so those might make visualization easier, but the choice is up to you.

To ensure you get good data I would suggest some redundancy in the data collection, either with multiple devices doing the sensing, or riding the same train out and back. The data should suggest a typical run on the line, so it would be bad if the train had to make an emergency stop. Ideally you would collect this data several times on the same line and merge the data to get a common / average result. Your grade will be partly based on the quality of the data collection so be sure to spend enough time planning and testing out your data collection approach.

Very likely between the various laptops and handhelds in your possession you will have enough capability to do the data collection.

Once the group has collected and shared all the data you can move onto doing each of your individual visualizations of that data.

For the visualization the user should be able to see a geographic representation of the train line and be able to play / pause / shuffle back and forth through that train run and simultaneously see what the train car is doing, or see the entire run all at once. The visualization should make the speed and acceleration (in various directions) easy to see and understand.

Note that while vectors are one way of visualizing the acceleration data, they may not be the best way.

By 11:59pm on Thursday 5/5 (the day before the final exam) each person should create a web page of their results and email the location to Andy Again as usual everyone should send me a 320 x 240 jpg snapshot for the web.

During the final exam period itself each student will have 10 minutes to describe their visualization work and their findings.

last revision 3/15/11