Monday, December 27, 2010

Data Visualization video

I watched a very cool (and relevant to local open data efforts) video on web-based data visualizations. It’s from Apple’s developer conference earlier this year and covers recent (and some experimental) web standards for doing dynamic, interactive, data visualizations, including on arbitrary shapes like maps.

Unfortunately, you have to login with a (free) Apple ID (and possibly register for a free developer account) on Apple’s Developer portal, and then get linked in to iTunes (which is free, but you need it installed and I don’t think they have a version available for open source platforms) to get access to this video. But, for data geeks — especially those interested in the possibilities of Open Data — this is probably worth it.

The license restriction on the video doesn’t seem to restrict me showing it to others on my laptop, so maybe we can get folks together for a group viewing some time (it’s about 45 minutes).

Technologies Covered

  • Javascript and dynamic loading of data from XML and JSON sources.
  • CSS effects (including touching on the newer animation effects).
  • HTML5.
  • HTML5 Canvas: Dynamic graphical drawing in HTML.
  • SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics.
  • Inkscape: Open source vector drawing tool (generates SVG).
  • Raphaël: Javascript library for dynamic vector graphic handling.
  • WebGL: Experimental dynamic 3D rendering in web code.

Getting the Video

If you are keen to see it now, and willing to jump through a bunch of hoops, here’s how you get to the video. This is all free, but a bit of a pain if you’re not already registered with Apple’s developer programs:

At every step of this, login, or create a login, if you need to:
  1. Go to Apple’s Developer videos page for WWDC 2010.
  2. Choose between the HD (big) or SD (small) video format, and select the appropriate “View in iTunes” link.
  3. Once the “WWDC 2010 Sessions” page is open in iTunes, select the “Internet and Web” section (last one in the list)
  4. The video is for “Session 509 - Creating Info Graphics with Standard Web Technologies”. Click the “Get” button to download it.
  5. Once it’s done downloading, you can watch it in iTunes (it’ll probably be in the “iTunes U” section in your iTunes player), or open it with another video player.

If someone figures out an easier way to get at the video, please let me know!