Assignment 2

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Interactive Data Visualisation

Assignment Overview

In this digital economy age, massive and complex data have been captured and stored in organization databases and/or data warehouses. By and large, these data contain a large amount of variables of a particular product or activity. Due to limitations in perceptual and screen space, data visualization techniques available in traditional business intelligence systems tend to confine to univariate and bivariate data such as bar chart, pie, chart, histogram, and scatter plot. As a result, many important relationships that live in these data remain undiscovered. In this assignment, you are required to design a data visualization system for analyzing and visualizing high-dimensional attributes from a dataset of your choice. The goal of this assignment is not to develop a new visualization tool, but to apply the interactive visualization techniques you have learned by using commercial-of-the-shelf software. It also aims to allow you to gain hands-on experiences on using the visualization tool and at the same time, to evaluate the pros and cons of the tool in real world applications.

Data Sets

We have provided the following data sets and would like to encourage you to use one of them in order to get started quickly and therefore have more time to explore the data and develop your analysis questions.

OECD - Economic Returns on Education

How much does it cost a country to educate a citizen with a higher degree? What are the various returns on that investment? The OECD has developed a sophisticated set of indicators for measuring these costs and returns, refined and updated in the just-released Education at a Glance 2012 report. Broken down by gender, public/private value, and secondary/tertiary education level, and including all 34 OECD countries, this data set offers a comprehensive view of the economic return on education.

Your challenge is to visualize the economic costs and returns on education. Your design should encourage comparison across the countries, and should reveal the individual statistics that go into these indicators. Additional education or economic data from the Education at a Glance or other OECD publications may also be included.

Source: [1]

Theme: Education

World Development Indicators (WDI)

World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank database for development data from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Source: The World Bank [2]

Theme: Global Issues

Human Development Indices and Data

The Human Development Report provides a comprehensive databsets related to human development. By and large, these data are compiled from specialized agencies of the United Nations system working on issues such as health—World Health Organization (WHO), education—United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, and labour market statistics—International Labour Organization (ILO) and many more, including for the first time mean years of schooling data from Barro and Lee.


Theme: Global and regional human development

Sustainable Society Index

This dataset provides global sustainable indicators for 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Source: [3]

Theme: Global Sustainability

Statistical Review of World Energy 2013

This dataset provides a comprehensive and high quality data on global energy market. The energy sub-markets covered in this dataset includes oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, electricity and renewables.

Source: [4]

Theme: Global Energy

Movies Data

These datasets contain some important statistics from a large sample of movies. The data includes the movie budget and revenue from different sources as well as ratings from RottenTomatoes and IMDB.

Sources: Hollywood Budgets [5], The Numbers[6], RottenTomatoes [7], IMDB [8].

Theme: Entertainment - Movie Productions

Data Visualisation System Design Process

Step 1: Identify a theme of interest

Each of the dataset provides a wide range of parameters that can be used for many different purposes. Hence, it is very important for you to identify a theme clearly before you start your investigation. For example, you might want to focus on issues related to business competitiveness.

Step 2: Define questions for investigation

After you have identified a theme, you should now formulate questions for investigation. For example: Is there a relationship between sales revenue and marketing expenditure? Are the growth of GPD per capita and the growth of productivity correlated? Are there different patterns of energy consumption in different regions of the world?

Step 3: Find appropriate data attributes

Extract and download the datasets in convenient formats such as Excel or a CSV file. The online database contains a lot of tabulated data. In some cases, you will need to convert the data to a format you can use. Format conversion is a big part of visualization research so it is worth learning techniques for doing such conversions.

You will need to iterate through these steps a few times. It may be challenging to find interesting questions and a dataset that has the information that you need to answer those questions.

Recommended Best Practice

After you have the initial question and the appropriate datasets, construct a visualization that provides an answer to your question. As you construct the visualization, you will find that your question evolves – very often, it will become more specific. Keep track of this evolution and the other questions that occur to you along the way. Once you have answered all the questions to your satisfaction, think of a way to present the data and the answers as clearly as possible. The presentation must be in the form of interactive visualization.

Before starting, write down the initial question clearly. And, as you go, maintain a wiki notebook of what you have to do to construct the visualizations and how the questions evolved. Include in the notebook where you get the data from, and documentation about the format of the dataset. Describe any transformations or rearrangements of the dataset that you need to perform; in particular, describe how you get the data into the format needed by the visualization system. Keep copies of any intermediate visualizations that have helped you refine your question. After you have constructed the final visualization for presenting your answer, write a caption and a paragraph describing the visualization, and how it answers the question you posed. Think of the figure, the caption and the text as materials you might include in a research paper.

You should maintain a session on the assignment wiki documents all the questions you asked and the steps you performed from start to the end .

Useful reference

Hey! Your Tableau Public Viz is Ugly *and* Confusing [9]

Tableau Visual Guidebook [10]

Visualization Software

To create the visualizations, you will be using either Tableau or Panopticon. One of the goals of this assignment is for you to learn to use and evaluate the effectiveness of these visualization tools. Please do not hesitate to consult me if you encounter problems in using the tool.


Past examples

Selected examples from last year batch

Yr 2010-11, Term 2

Yr 2011-2012, Term 2

Yr 2011-2012, Term 2

External examples

Interactive Map: The United States of Venture Capital [11]

IT Career Camp and Tableau for Teaching [12]

Which Team Should You Watch? The Personal Baseball Entertainment Index [13]

World Energy Survey Analysis [14]

Portfolio Selection Strategy [15]

Financial Analysis [16]

Australian Census data visualised with new Tableau 6.1 dark maps feature reveals a severe man draught [17]

Perry vs. Romney vs. Huntsman on jobs [18]

Submission details

This is an individual assignment. You are required to work on the assignment and prepare submission individually. Your completed assignment is due on 3rd October 2013, by 8.30am.

You need to edit your assignment in the appropriate wiki page of the Assignment Dropbox. The title of the wiki page should be in the form of: IS428_2012-13_Term1_Assign2_FullName.

The assignment 2 wiki page should include the URL link to the web-based interactive data visualization system prepared.

Assignment 2 Q&A

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