Final Project – A Study in Population Visualization

This project was an exploration in visualizing data. Taking city populations across the world, I mapped them across a canvas and represented them with pulsing circles. Each size and opacity relates to the size of the population. Hovering over the circle will display the name of the city, while clicking will produce a sound and display the population in the bottom right corner.

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Final Project Video


Looking Outwards for Final Project

Once I decided to do data visualization for the project, I found a variety of artists and programmers that I could draw inspiration from. I was particularly interested first by David Wick’s project, Drawing Water. Wicks has a background in design media arts and architecture, but works now primarily as an artist using computers. Drawing Water shows the flow of water around the United States in a way that is both clear and visually compelling. The lines vary based on daily rainfall, while color changes based on the water consumers in that area.

Drawing Water by David Wicks


Another project that I was intrigued by was Chris Harrington’s InternetMap Visualization.He uses information to display the global connection of internet around the world and the density of internet usage, and the result is an interesting web of fine lines that, when overlapped enough, indicate the originating nodes and the denser areas of network. Chris Harrington is currently an assistant processor of Human-Computer Interactions at Carnegie Mello, and works often with wearable interfaces and interactive technology.

InternetMap by Chriss Harrison



Final Project Proposal

For the final project, I would like to do a series of studies on data visualization strategies. I have an interest in diagramming and mapping information, and I would like to use this project to further develop projects in that area.


I envision using data that perhaps maps information geographically (such as population in different cities), and experimenting with different ways in which to represent that data. More specifically, I would like to explore with techniques that could make the data much more dynamic, rather than just being static images. Some of the ideas I have involve moving particles that change their velocity near data points, allowing perhaps for higher density to represent a higher value, or using particles to draw flowing lines that are attracted or repelled to the data points. Or, instead of having the data points be fixed with secondary particles moving to indicate the actual values of the data, I could also trying varying the data points themselves in some type of manipulation. I could see this project as an opportunity to either map various layering systems to the same geographic location or use one set of data and explore more variations in creative ways to represent a render.

Project 10 Creature

When the mouse is pressed, particles are created to represent food. The creature moves around the screen, and ripples represent where the food has been dropped into the water.

(I had intended to have the creature “eat the food”; but failed to get this to work.)


Looking Outwards 10


The project Sway by Caitlin Morris and Lisa Kori Chung is an installation that combines sound and tactility in an interactive environment. Thousands of plastic pipes with sensors are hung from the ceiling, and as people move through the space and interact with the sensors, it alters the composition of sound.

Caitlin Morris defines herself as an artist and technologist. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Architectural Building Sciences and Cognitive Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design. She often works with environment and perception, and teaches workshops on creative coding.

For this project, she had multiple steps to convert input information into the final output. Flex sensors sent info to arduinos which then sent data to Processing in the form of Serial or XBee, which was then transmitted to MaxMSP and finally Ableton. This project was completed in June 2014 and exhibited at Sonar in Italy.

Caitlin Morris: Sway

Project 9 Turtle Graphics Flower

For this project, I was interested in creating a flowing, dynamic work of art. The turtles all move towards the focus point, with each turtle having a unique speed, color, and trajectory. The turtles are generated either from the mouse, or randomly if the mouse is out of bounds. If the mouse is clicked, the canvas resets and a new focus point is generated at the mouse click location. Eventually, the image starts to resemble a swirling, floral shape that continues to change as the different turtles infinitely overlap with each other.

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Project 9

Looking Outwards 8

In last week’s Looking Outwards, Ashley Chen wrote about the project Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. The project started in 2014, and recently finished (although not all of the postcards have been uploaded yet.) Within the project, Lupi and Posavec chose weekly topics to collect data on. At the end of each week, they would individually represent their data visually on a postcard and mail it to the other. In her response, Ashley was particularly fascinated by the nature of the project being on postcards, and the quirky topics that Lupi and Posavec determined.

I understand Ashley’s interest in this project; I was similarly struck by the concept of this project as a year-long collection of mini projects and data collections. Interestingly enough, Lupi and Posavec, who are so fascinated by data collection and representation, in essence created their own “database” of postcards.

The medium of the project is also really fascinating to me. Typically, data collection and representation have shifted to being primarily computational since computers are ideal for storing or sifting through large amounts of data. However, Lupi and Posavec chose to do the project with analog media, which makes the project feel much more personal and artistic. While of course there are a large number of really great benefits to representing data digitally, I appreciated their use of analog media, which perhaps afforded them more creative liberties in representation in such a project.

Dear Data Web Page


Looking Outwards 7

Ben Fry is part of a design and software consulting company called Fathom, located in Boston. His infographics have been featured in a variety of movies, newspapers, and journals, and he even served as the Nierenberg Chair of Design at Carnegie Mellon; however, he is particularly well known for developing Processing for open source programming.

In his lecture at Eyeo 2015, he introduces the importance of audience, and how ultimately the work that he does is to take vast amounts of complex data and present it in such a way so that the audience can understand and be impacted by the data. He talks about his work on the project “The Full Participation Project: No Ceilings”, led by the Clinton Foundation, that studied data about women in countries around the world over a 20 year period. Some of the facts gathered from this data were shocking, such as “In the developing world, 200 million fewer women have internet access than men.” In order to process the 850,000 data points, Fry had to first build tools to navigate easily through the data. Using software such as Python and Processing, he created tools that allowed him to organize the information visually by country, year, amount of data, etc. This allowed him to then create infographics that presented facts in an succinct and interesting way to the audience. With this project in particular, multiple social media platforms were utilized to spread information.

I was interested in the power of campaigning and spreading awareness through the use of data visualization and infographics. Ben Fry’s work is not only technical and artistic, but is also very social and influential in the way it spreads information.

Ben Fry

The Full Participation Project: No Ceilings