Here is the the finished example of the Database Visualization I have been explaining in the previous 2 posts. A couple of things I added were rectangles based on the engine displacement, a for loop to create a dot representing the number of cylinders for the car and finally a rollover effect so that the viewer can concentrate on the imagery before knowing which car is represented. I don’t know if it’s a useful visualization or not, but I think it is attractive and I will spend more time viewing data like this than a chart.
Continuing with where we left off in Part 1, let’s start with a bit of data from the cars.tsv file referenced in the Processing File 02 example. BTW, if you are on a Mac, go to your Processing Preferences and check “Place File Menu inside of Navigation to avoid Mac Java bug, that way you can get to these examples very easily right from File>Examples in Processing. Or, upgrade to Processing 1.0.9. Make a new text file and paste this data that I got from the cars.tsv file referenced in the program:
chevrolet chevelle malibu,18,8,307,130,3504,12,70,1
buick skylark 320,15,8,350,165,3693,11.5,70,1
I have used Processing many times to import and manipulate database files but I tend to either forget exactly how I did something or not be able to find the kind of instructions I am looking for. I greatly appreciate all of the example’s Ben Fry and others have on Processing and they are important tools in learning to work with data. I would like to provide a one-stop tutorial, reference and explanation for exactly how to get an array of data into Processing and then how to manipulate it for data visualization purposes. And, if possible I will make an extremely simple example so that it is easy to build from here.
This New York Times article has a good overview of the amount of data we are collectively generating. It is literally mountains of information, and the real problem is how do you make sense of the 40 billion photos on Facebook? Is it possible, is it useful? I hope to explore how to use Processing to visualize data in that way. I feel that as artists we have a unique ability to take complex ideas and fix them in a visual form.