Assignment 1: Find 5 less orthodox data visualization techniques
What I found from trolling the internet was that there are many complex programs, many available in free versions, that visualize data. It is worthwhile for high school students to have some exposure to these, since they may be using them at work after they graduate. If had an opportunity, I would introduce one of these tools in a class so that students can gain some familiarity with how data is being manipulated nowadays.
One of these new tools is Anteus (at http://www.antaeus-data.com/concepts/about.html).
Antaeus is a system for finding patterns in multivariate data. It provides tools for looking at data when you don’t yet know what you’re looking for, led by your intuition and knowledge about the emergent phenomena represented. The basic plot type used is the scatter plot, as the number of variables increases, more and more scatter plots become necessary to visualize all the possible interrelationships. Anteus allows for complex manipulation of data sets with many variables and multiple dimensions. An example they have is for weather data where there is: Time, Location, temperature, wind speed, humidity, pressure, dew point, wind chill, and more.
Another appealing tool is Gephi (at http://gephi.org).
Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs. It emphasizes Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA): intuition-oriented analysis of networks by manipulations in real time. It has neat features like:
Link Analysis: revealing the underlying structures of associations between objects,
Social Network Analysis: mapping community organizations and small-world networks,
Biological Network analysis: representing patterns of biological data,
Poster creation: scientific work promotion with hi-quality printable maps.
An open source visualization program is Ggobi (at http://www.ggobi.org).
GGobi is a program for exploring high-dimensional data. It provides highly dynamic graphics such as tours, as well as familiar graphics. Plots are interactive and linked with brushing and identification. Some features of Ggobi are:
Examining cases with low or high values on some variables (price, weight,…) and show how they behave in terms of other variables by brushing in linked plots,
Seeing the separation between clusters in high dimensions by taking a helicopter tour in high dimension.
Laying out the network graphically and linking it to other plots.
Crreating high-quality publication graphics.
A fourth high powered data visualization program I found was Open Visualization Data Explorer (at http://www.research.ibm.com/dx)
This is a visualization framework that applies advanced visualization and analysis techniques. The Data Explorer provides a full set of tools for manipulating, transforming, processing, realizing, rendering and animating data and allow for visualization and analysis methods based on points, lines, areas, volumes, images or geometric primitives in any combination. Here are two examples of renderings made with the tool:
There was also one appealing (commercial) program I found that was aimed at high school students. This was Fathom available at http://www.keypress.com/x5656.xml.
This program deals primarily with teaching the basics of visualization. The program lets students see and manipulate data in a clear graphic form. The program makes creating basic visual representations (graphs, charts, scatter plots etc.) very simple and intuitive, using drag and drop. They have some short videos on the site that demonstrates these capabilities, for instance:
It has more than 300 included data sets, which offer real information about a variety of subjects, so that learning using fathom is real world and authentic.