Results tagged “processing”

In Which I Showcase My Spouse's Work

Josh Peek, my husband and astronomer extraordinaire, has also been learning Processing. While I'm thinking about how to use visualizations to share data with readers, Josh's goal is to use it to actually do science. Here's a graphing widget he made for some nearby galaxies. The hydrogen in those galaxies was observed with the VLA.

things_sc.gif[Click to actually play with the data.]

My Processing Clock

A clock seems to be the "Hello, World" of Processing, I have surmised from Anthony Mattox, twice. So I tried creating my own humble timepiece:

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Bookmark this for when you need to know what time it is. Or what day it is. See? Useful.

(Download an app for the Mac of this.)

Circles That Bounce

I had a go at Ben Fry's data sketchbook Processing. I made some circles.

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Not bad, huh? 

The weird Brownian-motion-style jiggling is because of the algorithm I made up to keep the circles from overlapping. It was only so successful. Still, a good first crack, methinks, for someone who didn't really know Java either.

Ben Fry at Columbia

Last night in the architecture school at Columbia University, data visualization expert Ben Fry addressed about a hundred architects and guests who, presumably, want to make data look good.

As I want to make data look good (and live only blocks away), I was among them.

The image above is a tiny slice of All Streets, a piece that traces the continental US only by plotting its roads. Fry showed the piece last night, highlighting how the geography of the Appalachians stands out, even though no geographical data is explicitly included. 

He used All Streets and a number of other examples in an attempt to define "data visualization," by contrast with information graphics. Information graphics, in Fry's paradigm, are constructed by hand and contain tens to hundreds of data points. Data visualization, however, represents thousands or millions of points — far more than a designer can do by hand. Data visualization, therefore, depends on code.

Fry said he did All Streets, with its droves of data points, in an afternoon. He does have a Ph.D. from the Aesthetics + Computation group in MIT's Media Laboratory, though. Still, Fry said he harbors a dream of turning every designer into a programmer. To that end, he is working on his free data visualization software, Processing, to keep making it more appealing to designers. 

As an outsider who's approaching this field from the programming side, however, I won't need to wait.


About this site

    Katie Peek is a science writer and astronomer who is figuring out how to give voice to information and data. This web site is a log of her voyage.