daan weijers

The Network

The CIID network is gigantic. What ways can we think of to show the vastness of this group of people?

When?

Spring 2016

Duration

1 week

Type

Data visualisation & programming

With who?

Bjørn Karmann
Nicolas Armand

Links

Github Repo

Abstract

The Network is an interactive data visualisation that partly works analog. An analog poster shows all the names, countries and companies affiliated to CIID. While putting an interactive overlay on it, people can search and highlight nodes in the network, and their relations.

Concept

Finished video of the interactive visualisation

The Network is a data-visualisation that – at first glance – shows the vastness of the CIID network. The analog poster shows all people that ever graduated from CIID, the countries they come from, the companies they work(ed) at and the years they were students. All ordered alphabetically.

When using the digital layer, however, the true network becomes visible. This layer digitally highlights a node in the network and subtly directs the eye to all its related data. For example: highlighting a certain company shows all the people who work at, or have worked at this company.

The digital layer allows people to search using the keyboard as an input, as well as using the arrow keys to navigate through the network. As a final touch, a random node in the network may be highlighted.

Getting the Data

When we started out this project, we found the data we received to be incomplete. Therefore Bjørn and I started building a LinkedIn-scraper that would retrieve the data of all CIID alumni.

“Hey guys. While you've been building this scraper, I've manually copied and pasted the data of two years already.”
– Nicolas

It became obvious Nicolas had the quicker method, so we started to help Nicolas making our data more complete by copy-pasting LinkedIn information of the alumni of CIID.

Visualising

An example of connected nodes

Our brief was to “Show the spread and size of the CIID network.” A brief that is open to a lot of obvious outcomes. Aware of this, we tried to show it in an unconventional way.

When we started plotting all the names, companies, countries and years in alphabetical order in Processing, we discovered that having this gigantic list of datapoints actually showed the size of the network. It's so much you can't actually see it at first sight. Since all three of us love typography, we decided to have type at the center of our visualisation.

Using Processing, we made this visualisation interactive when searching the name of a company, a friend or even a country, highlighting the searched query and all connected datapoints.

Analog & Interactive

Making the frame

As a finishing touch, we believed that this visualisation would be better off-screen. We plotted a screenshot and framed it, and used the visualisation as an interactive overlay.

The installation still proudly hangs in the CIID building.

Role in Team

This project was really a team effort in every sense of the word. I was working together with two programmers of (near) equal experience and therefore we complemented each other at all times. When we had to make the installation physical, I took responsibility for making the visualisation interactive beyond clicking nodes, and optimising the code while the others worked on the frame. In addition, I made sure the projection lined up with the physical aspect of the installation.

 

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