CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
Fall 2013: Tues/Thurs 1:30-2:45pm, E&CS 2120

Print - Admin








Tableau's data visualization software is provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.

Semester Project

Report Due: Mon, Dec 9, 2013 by 11:59pm
Presentation/Demo: Tue, Dec 10, 2013 during exam time


The idea of the project is to take the knowledge and background that you are learning this semester about Information Visualization and put it to good use in a new, creative effort.

A real key to the project, however, is to select a data set that you find interesting and intriguing. Even better would be to select a data set with a clearly identified set of "users" or "analysts" who care deeply about that data. Find a topic that people want to know more about. For example, consider the suite of data visualizations that the NY Times has created over the past few years:

Selecting the dataset is of primary importance. For practicality, you want data that actually exists and will not take forever to clean.

No matter what topic you choose, I am expecting a high-quality project. In particular, I'm seeking creative projects showcasing interesting ideas. A good project should consist of visualization designs and a software artifact that implements the designs. Interaction is key in information visualization, and it is difficult to understand the interaction issues in your project without a running system. I am explicitly not expecting user testing and evaluation. Ideally, I would like your efforts to be innovative and to result in some form of potential publication.

You are free to choose any software development environment and visualization support library that you want, given that you can produce an interactive web-based visualization. Note that projects with higher degrees of difficulty will be eligible for higher grades.

I gave a similar final project assignment in Fall 2011. Their submissions are available to view in the Project Gallery. (Yours will be added at the end of the semester.)


Students should work on a project in teams of 1 or 2.

Groups exist solely on the mutual agreement of both parties. At any time, if either member wishes to dissolve the group, the group will be split. No new teams can be formed after the first milestone is due. Members of the split group will have access to the shared code base.

Important Milestones

  • Oct 1 - Initial project description.
    • Submit the URL to your group webpage that contains a listing project members, the topic to be addressed, and potential data sources.
  • Oct 31 - Project mid-way progress report due.
    • This will consist of a short (5-10 min) presentation to the class and the submission of a brief report (hard-copy) that analyzes the problem and provides a detailed design for the system. Describe the development tools you will use. What visualization approaches will you take?
  • Weekly Meetings - please come meet with me weekly during office hours to discuss your progress
  • Dec 9 - Report describing the system due
  • Dec 10 (during exam time) - Project presentations and demos.


  • 20-25 minutes
  • The presentation should cover the motivation behind your project, the data set you used, an overview of any data cleaning required, a description of your system, future work, problems/things you learned.
  • The main part of the presentation is a live demo of the system.
  • All members of the group must participate in the presentation.


  • Formatted according to guidelines for Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (same format as InfoVis papers). Guidelines and templates are available at http://www.cs.sfu.ca/~vis/Tasks/camera_tvcg.html.
  • You are encouraged to use a teaser image to provide a picture of your system on page 1.
  • Required heading elements: Title, Author Names and Affiliations (dept, university), Abstract. Index Terms are not required.
  • Min: 5 pages, max: 10 pages
  • Treat this as you would a conference paper - look at examples if you aren't familiar with the format. You must include sections for Introduction, Related Work, Conclusions, and References, along with others as appropriate.
  • Remember that all figures and tables must include appropriate captions (and should be designed according to the principles we've discussed in class).
  • After the Conclusions section, add a section titled 'Final Thoughts' describing your experience working on the project. What were problems you faced? What things did you learn?
  • This paper must be in your own words. Especially when describing related work, you must resist the urge to copy (either directly or indirectly) from the paper you are referring to.
  • Submission: One member of the group should email a PDF version of the report to me with the subject line CS 725/825 Final Report

See Process and Pitfalls in Writing Information Visualization Research Papers by Tamara Munzner

I will evaluate the overall quality of your project, including all milestones and components. The following questions will be important during that evaluation process:

  • Does the system work? Does it present an interactive visualization of the data?
  • Is the visualization an effective representation of the data?
  • Does the visualization support different analytical questions about the data?
  • Is the visualization creative and does it illustrate some new ideas? (This isn't absolutely crucial, but simply re-implementing a well-known tool or technique is not so appealing.)
  • Was your presentation an effective discussion and portrayal of the project?
  • Does your report help someone understand the problem and how your system addresses that problem?


  • Thomas - Broadband ISPs within the US
  • Ayush and Reid - influenza propagation across the globe
  • Jason - currencies used throughout time
  • Gil - graphical browser for MeSH descriptors with the eventual goal of building selective PubMed queries graphically and interactively
  • Sherni - visualization of energy consumption and hazardous waste disposal
  • Ahmed - understanding Bluetooth data
  • Nick - global infrastructure: total internet users, mobile cellular subscriptions, electric power consumption, broadband internet subscribers

Based on project guidelines from John Stasko, Georgia Tech