The kind and brilliant folks at MIT have come out with a new Exhibit API that allows for more flexibility and power. The bonus is that it looks good doing it. I’ve now revised my Google spreadsheet fed history example to use some of the new power. It’s here if you’re interested. In the end I opted to mimic their new presidents layout (much like I mimicked their old presidents layout). This time I had a better reason than pure ignorance of the API (I now have impure ignorance after all). Their new layout is really right in line with what I’d like to focus on this year- data visualization/interaction. The new layout has the map right their with the time line. I like that. Time and location on one easy interactive page. Add in their option to sort and hide/expand sets based on the data you define and you’ve got something really powerful that will help students make connections. A simple example is if I restrict my set to show only “explorers” then suddenly in the map and the time line things change. I notice explorers were mainly earlier and than none were born in the Americas (obvious to you and I but maybe the spark some kids need). Then I switch map views and I see that explorers […]
It’s better to see this in the full page view but it grabs a WP JSON feed and makes up non-standard polygon shapes based on the posts using the featured image as the background. Try reloading the page and the shapes will change. If you hover over them they’ll behave in very odd ways as well. That’s all easier to see on the full page view. It’s a strange proof of concept but one I’ll be putting to work for an odd art site in the future. I’ll tame it a bit as I’ve made a number of completely odd decisions just to see what would happen. It could be I’ll end up using data from the posts to influence the shapes more intentionally. That opens up a whole world of strange dataviz possibilities. That is one of the things I love about doing this kind of WordPress interaction. It’s light enough that I’ll run down a path like this and just try it out. I probably wouldn’t have bothered if it required a full child-theme or page template. It’s a low threshold with a high ceiling and now I have another example of something people don’t think WordPress could do for my NMC presentation next week. See the Pen socially engaged artists – jquery by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen.
I found this KMZ file the other night. It’s really the greatest Google Earth file I’ve ever seen. It’s tracking bird flu but it’s doing it through, time, space and evolution. It creates a three dimensional representation of the changing aspects of the virus as it moves from carrier to carrier and place to place. There’s a video showing what it can do and explaining things here. The source file is over here. Why am I so impressed? Mainly because it’s a perfect representation of data visualization. It shows a completely different way to use Google Earth. Who would have thought to use a geography program to track the evolution of a virus? This kind of convergence is amazing and examples like this can lead to some amazing connections. It can also lead the way for other creators to start using this application in different ways.