The last week of our Interactive Data Visualization course was spent working on a final project using Adobe Flash and a UN Data Set of our choice. Working together with Mimi Son, we chose a data set from the UN’s World Tourism Organization and created a visualization that examines the region of origin of tourists in the world’s 10 most visited countries for 2005.
About this project from the course syllabus:
The course will guide students through the creation of a visualization system informed primarily by the designer’s own explorations of an unfamiliar data set. Along the way they’ll investigate a variety of interaction models suited for information inspection and manipulation, as well as the object-ortiented design concepts used to facilitate them. Throughout the exploration, students will be asked to identify insights about the data gained through the use of the tools they’ve built, which they will then share with the class in their final presentations.
As the above description suggests, the goal of this project was not to create a visualization that makes any statements about the data but rather an application that allows you to explore it, discover questions to ask of it and ultimately provide insight about how to further develop a visualization of this data. As a beginner to object oriented programming, this class for me became more of a skills course about ActionScript 3 rather than a serious investigation into GUI and data visualization, but in the end it was very rewarding and I am happy with what Mimi and I were able to accomplish in only 4 days.
Some notes about the data:
- It was most interesting to compare countries from the same region. For example, France and Germany - France had more visitors than Germany from every region except for the Americas.
- Of the ten countries chosen, UK has the most even distribution of visitors.
- Even though Russia borders the Asian regions, it has significantly less visitors from those regions than most European countries.
- Our visualization looks at the total number of visitors, breaks them up by region of origin and compares the numbers. Perhaps it would have been better to compare the percentages that make up the total amount of visitors.
- Finding statistical data from the UN about the total population of a given region was not possible. However, we could have done this for individual countries and compared the 10 most visited countries based on amount of visitors per resident.
- Unfortunately the tourism data only told region of origin and NOT country of origin.
- Initially we wanted to compare the flow of tourists to other data, such as the flow of imports, refugees, immigrants, etc… However this was the only UN data that made use of these “region” categories which made it difficult to compare it to anything else.
- Additionally, it would have been nice to visualize how this data changes over a long period of time. However our data set only covered 2000-2005.