ASSIGNMENT 1 (DUE Sun 17th Nov) – Understanding Data

markm on 11|11|2013
Filled under: Announcements, Assignment1


(You can download the assignment PDF here)

This assignment asks you to follow a series of steps outlined in class in order to come to an initial understanding of a dataset that is of personal interest to you. The emphasis in this assignment is on understanding data formats, documenting data, and presenting a particular point of view.

You will first need to identify a dataset that’s of interest to you; this could relate to your work in studio or to any area of individual interest. I will propose several online data repositories as a starting place; you are also encouraged to find your own sources of data. It’s important that your data comes from a primary source.

The second step will be to convert the data into a format that you and others in the class can easily work with: for this assignment I will ask everyone to use CSV format because it’s readable using any text editor or spreadsheet software. This conversion should be quite easy assuming that your data source is on the web; most data will be directly available in this format but some data sources may require some work to become readable by a computer and/or a person. BOTH ARE IMPORTANT!

The final step will be to load the data into one of the visualization tools demonstrated in class and decide what information you would like to extract from the data. What story can you tell using the data, and what view(s) of the data will allow you to present this story clearly and convincingly? I recommend google fusion, google Drive, or Many Eyes, but you can use any visualization tool for this assignment.

Your submission to the blog and shared folder should include:

- at least 1 image (screencapture of your visualization)

- a 100 word text description that includes the following details:

- What is the source? To what extent do you trust this source?

- What are the limitations of the data? What additional content would you like to be able to add to this dataset?

- What aspect of the dataset do you find interesting/provocative/illuminating? What can be learned from the view(s) presented in your visualization?

- a copy of your dataset in CSV format

- a URL if your data is available online



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