CMSC110 (Introduction to Computing)
Due before start of class on Tuesday,
April 2, 2013
First, read Chapter 5 from GXK and Chapter 9 from Shiffman.
Task: Develop a processing program that enables
a user to visualize some time series data. Your program
should allow the major trends in the time series to be easily
visible. Additionally, your program should allow for some
form of interaction between the user and the data (some
suggestions are given below).
Your program should be able to read in the time series data from a
file, parse the data with Processing, and then use Processing to
display the data in a clear and aesthetically pleasing manner.
You should consult Chapter 5 of GXK to get some ideas for effective
methods of visualizing time series (e.g. line charts, bar charts,
heat maps, etc.). However, you are by no means limited to the
formats presented in the GXK chapter. Above all, the choice of
visualization format should be informed by the story that you want
to tell about your particular time series data.
Don't be afraid to be creative! Visual enhancements that don't
necessarily convey additional information but make the presentation
of the data more interesting and aesthetically pleasing are
Here are a few suggestions for how you might add an
interactive element to your sketch:
You should select a dataset that lends itself to telling an
interesting story through visualization. You are welcome to
find your own data from any source you'd like as long as it is: (1)
a time series and (2) contains a reasonable number of datapoints (a
rough rule of thumb would be at least 50). You may want to
obtain data from one of the following sites that serve as data
clearinghouses: data.gov and datamarket.com. In
addition, we are providing five dataset that we feel are suitable
for completing the project.
- Use text to display the exact value of a datapoint when the
mouse hovers over the relevant portion of the visualization.
- Zoom in on a particular segment of the time series by clicking
the mouse on a segment of a line graph.
- Toggle the appearance of a moving average line with the click
of a button.
Timeseries datasets (you do not have to use one of these!):
- Product usage data: web browser
popularity (also see here for more
- Demographic data: popularity of
various names in the U.S.
- Economic data: U.S.
GDP (consult here for more
economic time series).
- Weather data: Philadelphia
snowfall by year (for more weather datasets for
Philadelphia consult the Franklin
- Stock market data: data from the
book irrational exuberance (see here
for more detail).
Remember to pay special attention to the aesthetic aspects of your
design as well as interactivity. Be sure to use the programming
features you have learned in the last week or two.
Extra Credit: Extra points (in an amount to
be determined) will be awarded based on students who create projects
that significantly expand upon the requirements of the
assignment. This part of the assignment is totally open-ended,
and you are welcome to discuss ideas with us. One example of
an extension that would merit extra credit would be to collect a
second time series and overlay it on the first. The second
time series should help the user better understand the causes of the
trends in the first time seres (for instance when graphing first
class mail volume, one might include a graph of e-mail volume
overlayed on the same plot).
What to Hand in: Hand in the entire sketch
folder in your Dropbox folder. In addition to the sketch/programs
also include; (1) a gif/jpg/png image of your finished sketch. (2)
A formatted write-up with Page#1 showing your sketch, followed by
a title, your name, a short 1-2 line description (as discussed in
class) on page#1, and a short 1-2 paragraph more detailed
description of the sketch and your personal experiences working on
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