see conference videos – Frank van Ham

Another video from the see conference #3

Frank Van Ham is from the IBM Research – IBM’s Many Eyes project. Focussed on the collaborative aspects of information visualisation – the communication of ideas by sharing visualisations.

He describes the history of the project saying that the idea for it came from a variety of things they were noticing as researchers, but in particular three projects.

  1. The first project was done by a colleague – a Visual representation of peoples email done in 2003. She stressed privacy to people – but found that people actually sent screenshots to other people – didn’t want to keep it private they wanted to share it.
  2. The second project was the Baby Name Voyager. A graph of the popularity of baby names over the last 100 years. In 2005. People started challenging each other to find patterns in this data, as a game.
  3. In 2004 there was a visualisation of the USA election with red states and blue states. Different visualisations were shared through blogs.

From these examples they developed their research agenda of “Massive Public Visualization”. Scaling the audience instead of the volume of data.

Important part was to make it easy for people to comment on the data and make their own visualisations. People get excited when they can see their own data.

The site is available

They provide a wide range of visualisation types. Types of uses that they have seen of the site:

  • Scientists have been using it for analysis.
  • Other people have been using it for personal expression.
  • Journalism and Advocacy
  • Social Interaction

ManyEyes lets people take their visualisations and embed them into their own websites or blogs. The site is free, but all data is visible to everyone.

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