Visualizing Data: Exploring and Explaining Data with the Processing Environment

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"O'Reilly Media, Inc.", Dec 18, 2007 - Computers - 384 pages
5 Reviews

Enormous quantities of data go unused or underused today, simply because people can't visualize the quantities and relationships in it. Using a downloadable programming environment developed by the author, Visualizing Data demonstrates methods for representing data accurately on the Web and elsewhere, complete with user interaction, animation, and more.

How do the 3.1 billion A, C, G and T letters of the human genome compare to those of a chimp or a mouse? What do the paths that millions of visitors take through a web site look like? With Visualizing Data, you learn how to answer complex questions like these with thoroughly interactive displays. We're not talking about cookie-cutter charts and graphs. This book teaches you how to design entire interfaces around large, complex data sets with the help of a powerful new design and prototyping tool called "Processing".

Used by many researchers and companies to convey specific data in a clear and understandable manner, the Processing beta is available free. With this tool and Visualizing Data as a guide, you'll learn basic visualization principles, how to choose the right kind of display for your purposes, and how to provide interactive features that will bring users to your site over and over. This book teaches you:

  • The seven stages of visualizing data -- acquire, parse, filter, mine, represent, refine, and interact
  • How all data problems begin with a question and end with a narrative construct that provides a clear answer without extraneous details
  • Several example projects with the code to make them work
  • Positive and negative points of each representation discussed. The focus is on customization so that each one best suits what you want to convey about your data set
The book does not provide ready-made "visualizations" that can be plugged into any data set. Instead, with chapters divided by types of data rather than types of display, you'll learn how each visualization conveys the unique properties of the data it represents -- why the data was collected, what's interesting about it, and what stories it can tell. Visualizing Data teaches you how to answer questions, not simply display information.
 

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Contents

Getting Started with Processing
19
Mapping
31
Time Series
54
Connections and Correlations
94
Scatterplot Maps
145
Networks and Graphs
220
Acquiring Data
264
Parsing Data
296
Integrating Processing with Java
331
Bibliography
345
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Ben Fry has a doctorate from the MIT Media Laboratory and was the 2006-2007 Nierenberg Chair of Design for the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. He worked with Casey Reas to develop Processing, which won a Golden Nica from the Prix Ars Electronica in 2005. Ben's work has received a New Media Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, and been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Ars Electronica, the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and the 2003 Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.

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