CS 795/895 - Applied Visual Analytics
Spring 2013: Mon 3-5:35pm, E&CS 2120

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  • Dr. Michele Weigle
  • mweigle at cs.odu.edu
  • E&CS 3214
  • Office Hours:
    M 1:30-3pm
    Th 9:30-10:45am




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

Project 1 - CCSLRI, CfA, or VAST Challenge

Assigned: Monday, Jan 14, 2013
Due: Monday, Mar 25, 2013 (right after Spring Break) extended -MCW 3/25/13

Project presentation and report guidelines updated. -MCW 2/27/13


The goal of this project is to get you quickly involved in a real-world data visualization problem. You have a couple options for projects.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI) is a group of ODU researchers who have data they would like visualized. Some of this data is polling data related to perceptions about sea level rise or life in Hampton Roads, in general (2012 State of the Region report - pdf).

Several researchers will come to class on Jan 28 to talk about their visualization needs.

You should choose a researcher to work with and meet with them further about their visualization needs. One thing that web-based interactive visualizations can provide is a way for the general user to explore the data in new ways. How could you provide this ability? If there is data for multiple years, could you display how the data has changed over time?

The requirement is to define a problem and create a solution that satisfies the researcher you are working with. The solution should exhibit sound visualization design principles and look professional. It should also be something that can be transferred to the researcher after the project has completed.

Code for America (Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Norfolk)

Meet with one of the local Code for America groups and determine how you could contribute to an open project, or propose a new project. This should be something that can be accomplished in a couple of months (i.e., don't rely on data that might take a couple of months to obtain).

The requirement is to define a problem and create a useable solution. The solution should exhibit sound visualization design principles and look professional. It should also be something that can be transferred the Code for America group after the project has completed.

VAST Challenge

Choose one of the mini-challenges from the 2010 VAST Challenge to complete. Follow the challenge guidelines.


Students should work on a project in teams of 2-4. But, no two students who have taken Info Vis can be in the same group - spread the knowledge!

Note: You may use Tableau to explore the data, but as our license expires at the end of the semester, do not develop something that relies on the license.

Important Milestones

  • Feb 4 - Initial project description. Group webpage that lists project members, problem, and initial approach.
  • Feb 25 - Project progress report due. This should be an analysis of the problem along with a detailed design for the system. Include a mock-up (sketch, Visio, PPT) of your visualization approach. Describe the development tools you are using. Describe additional data that you have gathered or plan to gather. This will be in the form of a class presentation (5-10 min) and an update to your group webpage.
  • Mar 18 - Project presentations and demos. extended to Mar 25 -MCW 3/25/13
  • Mar 20 - Project reports due. This includes updating your group webpage with a description of the system, link to the system, instructions for using the system, and a listing of each team member and their responsibilities. extended to Mar 26 -MCW 3/25/13

In addition to these milestones, each group will give a brief progress update weekly in class.

You are welcome to meet with me as needed to discuss your progress and any issues that arise.


  • 10-15 minutes
  • The presentation should include 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. added


  • 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: 3 pages, max: 10 pages
  • Required Sections: Introduction, Data, Tools, Approach, Conclusions, Final Thoughts, and References, along with others as appropriate.
  • In the Approach section, refer back to the "Narrative Visualization" paper by Segel and Heer, and describe your visualization based on ideas introduced in the paper. Is your visualization more reader-driven or author-driven? What visual narrative and narrative structure features have you included? added
  • 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. This section should include the following information: updated
    • What were problems you faced?
    • What things did you learn?
    • What was the contribution of each group member?
  • 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 795/895 Project 1


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, ie, does it read in the data and present an effective 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?