For All Assignments you are to write at the bottom of your assignment write the following "I have neither given nor received aid while working on this assignment. I have completed the graded portion BEFORE looking at anyone else's work on this assignment. Signed YOUR NAME".


Assignment 0

Before the start of the first class please
  • Put your gmail account information in this google spreadsheet InfoVis Roster
  • Review the course webpages.
  • Join the class listserv. Add yourself to Course Listserv
  • Learn how to use our Google Sites wiki (linked off of main page, click on Class Work #1--this is where we put our work) by making a page under A0 folder (make page labeled with your name), and edit it to put in some text and a picture. In our first class you'll have to put your work up on the class work wiki, so you'll have a head start if you're already familiar with using it.
  • Bring your laptop to class (every class)

Assignment 1

1. Find two example visualizations, one GOOD and one BAD. Put them on the class work wiki under Assignment 1 page. Make a page for your work using your name and put your work there for others to see (you can link to materials in other locations). Describe what you think is good or bad about the visualization.

2. Add to what you have a "what you would like to learn" category, and place here examples, or written descriptions of what you'd like to learn in this class.

3. At the newspaper where you work, your editor has asked you to make a chart for a story on increasing tuitions. The story compares tuition increases at 6 universities over the past 5 years. Your job is to make a visualization to go in the newspaper which will communicate to the readers what the current tuitions are (and allow for easy comparison), and most importantly, what the tuition increases are (and how the percentage increases compare). Excel File

4. Create a basic visualization that would serve as an introduction to you (e.g., a map of places you've been, a mindmap (network graph) of your interests, time series (chronological) narrative, whatever). You have creative license.

Assignment 2

1) Practice critical review. You are to provide a critique of (a) another person's tuition visualization (A1); (b) a visualization of your choice. You should place your review for (a) on the wiki page for their visualization, and place a link to it from your A2 wiki page. Your "review" should contain positive and negative points, and should also be worded in a constructive, friendly manner (think how you would want to receive comments). There should not be more than two reviews per visualization, so if there are two reviews on one you want to review, too bad, pick another one. You should indicate (in a prominent place) whether you recommend this visualization for review by the class. For (b) put your review on your A2 wiki page.

2) Do-Over for tuition increase. After our review of Assignment 1's work on tuition increases, I want you to see if you can come up with an improved chart. (I'll fill in details of what "more" I expect from you in class and via listserv).

Assignment 3

1) Find examples of the following types of visualizations (or make your own up, including making the visualization) for the following. Divide into groups of 4. Each group is responsible for presenting one visualization for each of the 16 types below. Put your group work together on your Assignment page.

Generic Variables

One Variable:

  • Nominal
  • Ordinal
  • Continuous

Two Variables:

  • Nominal + Nominal
  • Nominal + Ordinal
  • Nominal + Continuous
  • Ordinal + Ordinal
  • Ordinal + Continuous
  • Continuous + Continuous

Three Variables:

  • any combination of 3 (nominal, ordinal, continuous)
  • 3D spatial plus 1D continuous variable

Spatial Variables (Cartography/Map)

  • Spatial Coordinates + 1D
  • Spatial Coordinates + 2D (any combination of nominal, ordinal, continuous)


  • Temporal + 1D
  • Temporal + 2D (any combination of nominal, ordinal, continuous)

Network (Node/Link)

  • Any thing of this type.

2) Evaluate the following visualizations and describe the data types involved, any mapping and processing of the data that occurred on the raw data before it was visualized. Provide a good estimate if it is not easy to discover the data sources.

Assignment 4

You will be working with color choices for interfaces. You will need to use screen capture methods to grab parts of the screen and paste into our class work wiki as images (snagit, PrtSrc, etc).

1) Critique the choice of color scheme for two of the followig four websites. (don't include picture of website, just provide your critique for each).
Project Romeo
Internet Public Library 2
International Children's Digital Library

2) Explore Adobe Kuler.
(a) Pick a color scale that appeals to you (independent of visualization). Cut & Paste it in your assignment work (using screen capture tool)
(b) Using Kuler pick one color scheme (3-5 elements) for one of the four above examples (your choice), that would improve the visualization. Explain why it would be a better choice.

3) Explore Color Scheme Designer.
a) Using Color Scheme Designer explore the use of different types of color schemes, in particular the ones they provide presets for: mono, complement, tria, tetrad, analogic, and accented highlight.
b) Chose a single color scheme you like the best for their Preview example. Note that you can modify the values on the color wheel after you select it. Cut and paste the resulting image to your assignment page, and write short description of why you like it. You can use either light or dark Preview (or both)
c) check how well your choice works for colorblindness (deuteranomaly). Then see if you can find a Tetrad color scheme choice that would be significantly affected by deuteranomaly as compared to normal color vision. Cut & paste into your wiki page the rectangular block visualizations for the two conditions (normal and deuteranomaly). Note, I don't think the tool properly applies the color blindness to the website Preview, only the color block preview, so use Vizcheck to produce image.

4) Expore the Color Brewer tool. Read the "How to Use". Try the different types of visualizations (single vs mulit hue; solid vs terrain; with and without road, cities, borders). Then design what you think is an optimal design for each of these three challenges (separate designs for each challenge). Include your resulting image and brief statement of your design choice.
a) Depicting Storm damage costs, for hurricance striking FL, to inform government in how to provide aid.
b) depicting average summer temperature, for helping choose a place to build a vacation home in the southeast. You want your temperate zone to be the middle 20% of the values depicted.
c) For each county you know which ethnic group has the largest population (there are 6 ethnic groups). The polictical party in power wants to redistrict the southeast part of the nation. Make a map to depict the distribution of ethnic groups.

Assignment 5

You are to apply your knowledge of good perceptual design to visualization examples on the web. Please do not choose examples on sites of "good" or "bad" visualizations. Find your own. News stories (NY Times, USA Today, etc), and scientific visualizations are a good sources. You can use any materials that you can freely acces on the web (including previous classwork from our class). Include a picture of the visualization with your writeup. followed by your review.

1) Good Example: Find one good example of a visualization that you think demonstrates good design based on perceptual and cognition factors. Explain why.

2) Bad Examples: Find two bad examples of visualizations that you think demonstrates bad design based on perceptual and cognition factors. Explain why.

3) Evaluate the following example for how well you think their design follows perceptual and cognition factors (based on our limited discussion so far): Botanical Tree, figures 12 and 13

Assignment 6

1) Read about Circos (Home page, Published Images, Data Visualization).
(a) Choose one image in particular that you enjoy visually (athestically), and describe why.
(b) Critique the following example for how well you think their design follows perceptual and cognition guidelines we have discussed in class. Circos: Genome Comparison

2) Compare and contrast these two network graph designs for showing facebook friends:
a) TouchGraph
b) Social Graph
Suggest a best design (improvements, or different approach you would take). (note, these operate on your facebook data, which hopefully makes it interesting to you; however you are NOT required to share the resulting image if you don't want to).

Midterm Project

You are to create a visualization for one of the suggested projects (below) or a project of your choosing. If you choose the project you need to verify with instructor that it is appropriate. Because we have not learned or practiced most of the visualization techniques yet, this project is focused more on the design of your project (with respect to CUT-DDV model), exploring one or more techniques for visualization. You may build your actual visualization or mock one up (via graphical presentation or sketch or make physical model).

Your first job is to form a team to be on and create a project description. A team can be 1-4 members. You can choose from existing project or make up your own. You must define your Project Description as

  • what you want to do
  • why it is interesting to you
  • scope of project
  • assignment of duties to project team
  • expected deliverable

You will present your project description at the next class. You have 3 minutes to present it. You should place your project description on the wiki (and ultimately a link to your project).

Suggested Projects

My first suggestion is to do something that is interesting to YOU!

If you're having a tough time coming up with something, here are some suggestions

Olympics Data Set Excel My favorite choice. :-). Present some combinations like

  • medals by country (on map?)
  • medals in specific sport by country
  • be able to show proportional representations of number of each type of medals (gold, silver, bronze) in each event by country.

Crime Statistics
Crime Data Set Excel

  • By map location (state, or preferably by city) show total crimes
  • show crimes vs population for map location
  • show breakdown of different crimes, perhaps for just one state

War casualities
US Causalities Data Set Excel US causalities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • by state
  • hostiles killed/wounded
  • difference between estimates and actuals

UK causalities in Afghanistan
UK Causalities Excel

  • by rank
  • cause
  • by age
  • show caption (paragraph for paper) on mouse over or similar

Cars Dataset

Flight Delays
Flight Delays DataSet Excel Visualization delays on Seattle flights.

Find your own DataSet! :-).
Visualize with at least 3 different visualizations (probably mostly graph based). Show friend to friend connections, show connection through other attributes, like similar interests.

Next two are fairly easy examples. You will need to do more work with them to get equivalently good grade as harder piece of work.

Soda or Pop? Drink Naming Conventions Excel Data set This is a simple dataset. It contains data on preferences for how people refer to soda/pop/coke by state (numbers are percentages). If you choose this you will need to visualize the data multiple ways (at least 3 for each task below) and compare them. You should at a minimum prepare visualizations for these two tasks:

  • show by state displaying only the most favorite name used
  • show by state all naming conventions, and indicate freq of use

Cereals Cereals Excel Data set This is a simple dataset. If you choose this you will need to visualize the data multiple ways (at least 3 for each task below) and compare them. You should at a minimum prepare visualizations for these two tasks:

  • show amounts of certain ingredient types per cereal
  • group across same manufacturers and display averages for ingredients

Assignment 7

You are to produce quality visualization(s) for each of the following two datasets. Your visualization(s) should be chart or graph visualization.


Visualization #1: As a whole, which of these factors {Gender, Age, Years with Company} correlate most strongly (positively or negatively) with salary? You may use one or more visualizations. Strive for clarity and brevity.

Visualization #2: Show age distribution in company grouped by WorkType. I.e. age distribution for Clerical, Management, etc.

Dataset: Salary Excel; Salary XPS; Salary csv


Want a single visualization (one picture, no multiples) to be able to answer:

  • Which region has largest overall sales revenue?
  • Which regions are growing in sales revenue?
  • Which region is trending upwards the best in sales revenue?
  • Qualitatively how does region X compare to region Y in sales?

DataSet: Sales Excel, Sales XPS Sales csv

Assignment 8

Scientific Visualizations
Choose one of the RENCi visualizations (anyone except the three we covered in class on March 1, i.e. not Storm Surge, Particle Flow/CFD, Author Co-Citation Network). You're welcome to use one you've already reviewed. For this visualization

  • characterize it according to our CUTT-AD-DDV framework (1/2 page)
  • critique as we have practiced in class (1/2 page)
  • propose a better visualization. You should work within today's technology but not be constrained by expense, i.e. assume you can have virtual world eyeglasses, or a cave, or a supercomputer to calculate the 3D flow of particles. (1 page plus figure)

Technology Driven Change
Assume that everyone has virtual reality glasses (half silvered so you can see virtual reality and real life, separately or superimposed), that you have high bandwidth internet to your glasses, a dataglove hand for HCI. Describe an application that you think would benefit greatly from such technology. Describe the current state of visualization affairs, what your idea is for better visualization, and why it would be a huge improvement. (1-2 pages) (Dataglove example video start at 1:20 in)

Assignment 9

Provide 2 reviews of someone else's midterm projects. No project should have more than 2 reviewers (i.e. everyone will receive two student reviews). First come first serve on signing up for reviews, so if there are already two reviews on the one you want to do, you must find one without two reviews and review that one.

Assignment 10

GIS/MAP assignment

1. Using the dataset States QuickFacts visualize the US map and show percent change and total population for 2000 and 2005. (note pecent change is over diffrent time periods, 1990-2000, and 2000-2005, it's OK to treat the same).
Extra Credit: create a single visualization that captures the subgroups of ages (under 5, under 18, over 65) in single visual.

2. Using the dataset
Health Insurance Coverage depict the 6 variables provided for each state so that they can be easily compared.

3. Using the data from State Health Exchange Plan combine it separately with each the following two datasets to see if any correlation
(a) Democratic vs Republican controlled state legislatures. Let's use
Wikipedia State Legislatures as our source for this information.
(b) data from part (2)
Extra Credit: if you can build interactive type display like the State Health Exchange that allows you to compare between the different data elements (Tableau is a possibility as far as letting you to mouse over to access details).

Note for extra credit portions, try to make a visual, but if you can't but have a good idea, you can mock it up, or sketch it.

Assignment 11

We will work with using interactive controls and animations to

  • tell stories better
  • perform exploratory analytics

We will make use of the Gapminder tool and Google Motion Charts class instructions on using them. You are to do three things:

1. Gapminder Data Page Select "age of first marriage". Choose to display it (rightmost icon on that line). This will bring up a display of "age of first marriage vs GDP". Answer the following questions with a brief description and both a single static picture, and a description of how to interact with the visualization to see this in an interactive/animated form.

  • when was the US the most different from everyone else (over what 20 year span, across the entire time period, was the US circle more of an outlier from everyone else)?
  • how would you show how the US's age of first marriange has changed over the entire time period?

2. Gapminder Data Page Select "crude birth rate". Choose to display it (rightmost icon on that line). This will bring up a display of "crude birth rate vs GDP". Answer the following questions with a brief description and a single static picture.

  • when did South Korea have it's most dramatic reversal of birthrate?
  • make a display that shows this as a story.

3. Choose a dataset that interests you from gapminder datasets and download into Excel. Then download this into Google Docs. Make your own google motion chart visualization. Instructions on how to do this are on our Tutorials Page. You should

  • Create a static visualization that tells a story. Provide a brief written description.
  • Create a dynamic visualization (describe what one should do to experience this)

WARNING: Changing the data from Excel dump from Gapminder to use in Google Docs REQUIRES that you transpose the data. See the tutorials page for instructions to help you with this. It is OK to just transpose some but not all the rows as there may be many in your dataset. It is easiest to just delete rows while in Excel (before you transpose them to Google Docs).

HINT: for looking at things over time, you can indicate that the user just use the slider bar to control the display of time. For static summary picture you can click on a country's circle then move through time and it will leave trace circles showing the path.

Assignment 12

ManyEyes Network Graph: Produce a network visualization using website ManyEyes.

Some examples datasets you can use are:

OR you can choose your own dataset, one that would best be visualized by a network graph. Some examples ideas:

  • facebook friends list (but avoid situations where everyone friends everyone else)
  • co-authors of papers. For example generate listing of each SILS faculty member and each co-author they have. See how this clusters out. Include phd students as well.
  • co-occuring words in scholarly articles
  • websites links (websiteA -> HasLinkTo -> WebsiteB)

Brief Instructions on using ManyEyes:

  1. First you will have to register in order to upload a dataset.
  2. Once registered, go to the participate section to upload a dataset.
  3. Follow the instructions for preparing data.
  4. Check that the system understood. Make sure that columns are correctly read as text or numbers (if using numbers as text, however, I've ran into problems even after correcting the type).
  5. For visualization type, choose Network Diagram.
  6. Assign column names to the first item and second item (Note: If the system isn't reading your data correctly, the second column name may not show up. In that case, I'd try another dataset.)
  7. You can pan and zoom. Also play with selecting nodes to highlight connections and dragging nodes to rearrange the layout.
  8. Publish for the world to see.
  9. Copy and past link into Assignments section on wiki. (Alternatively, you could use "share this" icon under visualization to email the link; note the live visualization and static image coding will not be recognized by the wiki.)

Assignment 13

Tableau Visualization Work.

Final Project

First choice: something meaningful to you.

Other suggestions:

  • Do a better "UNC next bus". Related to this....Transit - There's an App for that. 1/10/2011 GoTriangle is making transit transparent and opening all of the local area transit agencies' data files to the public! This is a great opportunity for: - Urban Planning students - Computer Science folks - Friends of Transit - YOU! Create the app of your dreams! If you are interested in creating a mobile app using GIS shape files and Google Transit Files, visit
  • depict the spatial movement of sports teams between conferences over time, including yearly payouts to conference members, payouts to leave conferences.
  • visualize the "internet"
  • Tackle a challenging visual analytics problem
  • Tackle a challenging multidimensional problem.
You should produce a final project report that completely documents your final project. You should also make a final project presentation. (these can be the same, but you will not have enough time to present everything during your project presentation). When you make your project presentation matrial, make it with the expectation that others will view it. Thus while you might put your full report on the class work wiki (or whatever you want) be sure your presentation is something viewable on web (powerpoint, PDF, Prezi, etc). Intend it to be part of your professional portfoilo that you show to prospecive emploers So make it look GOOD!

For your final presentations, also focus on making your presentation high quality as well as your project work and materials. Dress professionally, like you're presenting to upper management. Good luck!