Physical Data Visualisation


“Physical Data Visualisation is more engaging than on-screen representation”

 

Introduction

We live in the digital era. Nowadays, there are so many surveillance devices around us. We are not only talking about CCTVs, but also the sensors in the city, the parking lot gates, our smartphones, etc. They monitor people’s activities and produce data on a time basis. These devices create a large amount of data that might be useful – or at least interesting – for people, even though sometimes there are not easy to understand.

 

Context

Edinburgh City Council has a website that provides the data about the city and can be accessed by people. For most of people, these data only look like a bunch of numbers. Even though there are a lot of meaningful data, it seems too difficult to understand the information behind the numbers. Information is easier to understand if they are shown as graphs or pictures rather than as texts or numbers. For example, the log that produced by a GPS tracker is meaningless for people who are not deal with GPS data often. But if we visualise the data into lines on top of a map on the screen, it will be easier to imagine the tracks that captured by the tracker. In addition, if we visualise the tracks to a physical thing, the visualisation will be more interesting. We can see or even can touch the information with our hands.

 

 

Based on the information above, I come with a theory that says: “Physical Data Visualisation is more engaging than on-screen representation”

 

Research

I created a survey through Google Forms to ask people’s preferences about data visualisation. I got 57 responses and got the results below:

Visualisation Preferences

Visualisation Preferences

Reason to Visualisation Preference

Reason to Visualisation Preference

Graph Type Preferences

Graph Type Preferences

 

First, 63.2% of respondents prefer to have physical visualisation than on-screen visualisation. 57.9% of them chose physical visualisation because it is easier to understand and the reason for another 43.9% is because it is more interesting. Lastly, 47.4% think that bar graph is the visualisation that is the easiest to understand.

From the results above, I browsed the information from the Edinburgh City Council Open Data website (http://edinburghopendata.info). I tried to find datasets that might be interesting to be shown in physical data visualisation. After some time, I decided to visualise the number of passengers in Edinburgh Airport on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, the data provided on the website is not detailed enough, so I tried to find more data from the source website (http://www.caa.co.uk/home/) where Edinburgh City Council get the data. Maybe this dataset is not very useful for most people, because what is the point to know the number of passengers come and go in the airport. I argue that even though the data is meaningless, but as long as you create a good physical data visualisation for the data, it will be interesting to see the visualisation result.

 

Solution

I built an artefact that inspired by Physical Charts from Microsoft Research (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/physicalcharts/) to show the number of passengers in Edinburgh Airport on a monthly basis. I used 5 tape measures to represent the bar graph. I also used 5 LCD displays to show the month that the data is being shown by the particular tape measure and 1 LCD display to show the number of passengers for the tape measure in the middle. Each tape measure is driven by a stepper motor and an Arduino Yun that act as a slave and connected to an Arduino Mega ADK as a master. All LCD display get the data from the Arduino Mega ADK. There are two switches to shift the data one month after and one month before, so the users can choose the period of data that they want to see.

The Artefact

The Artefact

The LCD Displays and the Buttons

The LCD Displays and the Buttons

Behind the LCD Displays

Behind the LCD Displays

Stepper Motor and Arduino Yun

Stepper Motor and Arduino Yun

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

 

My 2nd Semester

Hola,

Tidak terasa sekarang sudah menjalani semester kedua di The University of Edinburgh. Jangan ditanya bagaimana performaku di semester lalu. Masih ada nilai yang belum keluar dan masih ada hutang ujian untuk satu mata kuliah lagi. Ya, kuliahnya di semester satu, ujiannya di semester dua. Yang pasti, harus belajar lagi untuk materi-materinya yang bagiku sulit.

Untuk mata kuliah yang diambil di semester dua sama sulitnya bagiku. Aku mencoba mengambil mata kuliah di bidang yang baru bagiku. Positifnya, aku bisa mempelajari sesuatu yang belum pernah aku ketahui sebelumnya. Negatifnya, aku harus belajar ekstra untuk mengejar ketidaktahuanku supaya bisa mengikuti teman-teman lain. Mudah-mudahan semuanya berjalan dengan lancar. Oya, untuk semester ini mata kuliah yang diambil semuanya coursework, artinya tidak ada ujian di akhir semester ini, kecuali satu yang diwariskan dari semester sebelumnya.

Saat ini sedang winter di Edinburgh, dan aku sudah mendapatkan flu keduaku dalam musim ini. Cuaca tidak menentu, kadang hujan, tiba-tiba cerah, tidak lama kemudian turun salju, dan cerah lagi. Tipikal cuaca di sini yang memang tidak bisa ditebak. Salju di sini tidak tebal seperti yang ada di film-film. Setelah turun salju, tidak lama kemudian saljunya akan hilang. Beberapa waktu lalu sempat turun salju yang cukup lama sehingga terdapat lapisan salju yang cukup tebal di tanah. Bersama beberapa teman, kami mencoba mencari sensasi salju di Arthur Seat, bukit yang ada di tengah kota Edinburgh. Sempat hampir membatalkan niat karena licin sehingga naiknya lebih sulit dari biasanya, tapi semuanya terbayarkan setelah bermain salju di puncaknya.

Yah, itu saja untuk saat ini. Sekarang aku harus mengumpulkan semangat untuk mengerjakan tugas. Sampai bertemu di postingan selanjutnya.

 

Arthur Seat

 

 

It’s been so long

3 tahun. Ya, sudah 3 tahun sejak postingan terakhir di blog ini. Banyak hal-hal yang terjadi selama 3 tahun ini. Dari masih bujangan sampai sekarang sudah menikah dan punya 1 putri, dari tinggal di daerah Perdatam hingga sekarang tinggal di daerah Sunter, dari Direktorat TTKI hingga ke Bagian Kepegawaian, dan dari Jakarta hingga ke Edinburgh.

Aku menulis postingan ini dari Edinburgh, UK dan Sekarang sedang melanjutkan studi S2 di The University of Edinburgh, jurusan MSc Advanced Design Informatics. Aku bersyukur diberikan kesempatan untuk kembali menimba ilmu melalui beasiswa SPIRIT. Jujur, setelah sekian lama tidak kembali ke bangku perkuliahan, otak ini serasa kaget ketika harus mengerjakan tugas-tugas akademis, essay, riset, “coding”, dan menjadi anak kos lagi. Untungnya sekarang teknologi sudah serba canggih, banyak ilmu yang bisa didapat dari internet. Dulu waktu masih kuliah, modal belajar itu ya dari buku atau diskusi bersama teman-teman. Sekarang tinggal tanya om gugel, semua informasi tersedia di depan mata.

Komunikasi saat ini sudah semakin canggih dan mudah. Ngga kebayang gimana jadinya di zaman dahulu kala tanpa Whatsapp, Skype, email, dan sebagainya. Saat telepon hanya bisa menggunakan PSTN dengan biaya mahal dan hanya suara. Komunikasi antara Edinburgh – Jakarta/Medan terasa mudah dengan biaya yang murah. Bisa video call pula, sehingga seolah-olah seperti berada di dalam ruangan yang sama.

Kembalinya menulis di sini juga bukan tanpa alasan. Ada tugas salah satu mata kuliah yang “menyarankan” kita untuk memposting laporan dalam bentuk blog. Akhirnya bangkitlah blog ini dari mati suri selama 3 tahun. Sekilas membaca postingan-postingan sebelumnya, sepertinya rasa kangen untuk menuliskan catatan tentang IT bangkit kembali. Setidaknya bisa berbagi ilmu sekaligus menjadi catatan pribadi sewaktu-waktu apabila diperlukan. Yang dibutuhkan hanyalah niat dan kemauan untuk menulis. Jujur saja, perkuliahan di sini cukup padat, sehingga waktu luang itu sesuatu yang berharga. Kalau kita tidak pintar untuk mengatur waktu, bisa kewalahan dalam mengikuti perkuliahan dan mengerjakan tugas-tugas yang ada. Kebiasaan “deadliner” waktu S1 juga sepertinya tidak bisa diterapkan di sini :D.

Tidak terasa sekarang sudah di akhir semester 1, yang artinya kurang lebih sudah 3 bulan ada di sini. Minggu ini adalah minggu-minggu tersibuk dari seluruh semester, semoga semuanya bisa terselesaikan dengan baik. Dalam beberapa hari lagi aku akan pulang ke Indonesia untuk merayakan natal bersama keluarga, sehingga konsentrasi untuk mengerjakan tugas pun sudah mulai pudar. Sudah kebayang bagaimana pedas dan lezatnya makanan Indonesia yang akan aku cicipi nanti setibanya di Jakarta. Makanan di sini juga tidak buruk, hanya mungkin soal kebiasaan memakan makanan berbumbu dan pedas saja yang membuat terasa sedikit hambar.

Sepertinya ini saja tulisanku kali ini. Aku harus kembali melanjutkan tugas berhubung besok harus melakukan presentasi dan memberikan laporan. Salam dari UK…

 

*PS: Mohon maaf sebesar-besarnya untuk komentar yang tidak terbalas selama masa vakum kemaren. Mudah-mudahan kedepannya aku punya waktu untuk kembali memelihara blog ini 🙂

Old College, The University of Edinburgh

Uncertainty

“Everything changes in the world. Capable of managing changes is the best way to survive.”

Theory

Look everything around us. The weather, sunlight, trees, streets, buildings, mountains, our parents, our children, our friends, our siblings, they are all change. The changes are ubiquitous. Changes happen anywhere and anytime, and it is not always easy to predict until we realise that the changes already there. Nothing remains stagnant in this world. We do not have the power to keep everything still, and to force everything works according to our will. Even though sometimes we do not like to see something change in our life, change is needed to make ourselves better.

Studying in Edinburgh enables me to visit a four season country for the first time. I arrived in Edinburgh at the end of summer and now it almost winter. When I saw deciduous trees, I realise that a tree adapts to the season by changing itself to survive. Sometimes change has to happen and we cannot avoid it. The best thing that we can do is adapt to the change. We have to change ourselves to face the challenge that occurs after the change. Leon C. Megginson says that “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Adaptation is the most important thing to deal with uncertainty in the world. We have to adapt if we want to survive.

I tried to redefine the word adaptation related to what happen in our daily life. I conclude that adaptation is a condition where people transform the way they do something to manage change. When we change our habit consciously because of something changes around us, it means we are trying to adapt to the situation.

 

Research

Based on my theory above, I did a research. I limit the scope of the research only on how people are doing their tasks when a change occurs in the middle of it. Since the last few weeks were the busiest weeks in this semester for all of us, I could observe a lot of students on how they do their assignments. I also asked several students about their considerations to plan on which assignments they want to do first. I found several things that affected the way they planning and doing their assignments:

  1. Priority

People set their priority on the assignments that they have to do and work on the highest priority first. In my opinion, they are 2 type of assignments, individual assignment and group assignment. People prefer to finish group assignment first because all of the group members will get the same mark. They do not want their friends to get a lower score because they did not do the assignment well.

  1. Deadline

People prefer to finish the assignment that has earlier deadline first. In other words, they will leave the assignment that they still have time to do it later and focus on the one that they have to deliver soon. By doing this, they hope that the will not exceed every deadline that they have.

  1. Complexity

Some people choose to do the assignments that easier to do and do not take much time to finish. By finishing the easiest one first, they can focus on another assignment and spend more time to finish it.

 

I also did some research. I asked people to draw a car, a house, and a human on the paper in one minute. They can draw the objects in any order. In the last 20 seconds, I asked them to add something for their first object only. I asked them to add garden if they drew house first. If they drew a car first, then I asked them to add a bicycle next to the car. For a human, I asked them later to add a child. I recorded them when they drew in a video. From the experiments, I found that some people responded to the change immediately, left what they are doing for a while and went back after they finished to add what I asked for their first object. Other people did not respond immediately when the change happened. They still continued to draw for around 5 seconds, and then added another thing to their first object and went back to what they left before. I also found that some people tried to finish their task first and think that they will add additional object to their first object after they finished with the third object. Unfortunately, they failed to do what I asked later because they run out of time.

From the research above I conclude that people will try their best to adapt to changes. However, sometimes we do it in a wrong way and might lead to a failure. The figure below shows you that if you do something in the wrong way, the more you struggle, the more you get depressed.

If you do something in the wrong way, the more you struggle, the more you get depressed. (http://www.cerpen.co.id/post_134565.html)

These findings give me an opportunity to make an improvement on how people can manage changes, especially on how they are doing their assignments.

 

The artefact

I come up with a software prototype to answer the findings from the research, named Assignment Scheduler. The software can suggest the way on how we finish our assignments. It can automatically arrange our free time and allocate schedules that we might work on our assignments.

First we need to input our class schedules and our assignments into the software. The software then will arrange the schedule for doing the assignments. When we get another assignment or any change to existing assignment, we can add or update it.

After we add a new assignment or justify the current assignment, the software will try to reconfigure the schedule and suggest the new timetable to help the user adapt to the change that happened.

 

The difference between this software and existing scheduler like Google Calendar is Google Calendar needs the user to arrange the schedule by himself or herself while this software will arrange the best possible schedule for the user. However, this software still a prototype and can be developed with more useful features in the future. The aim of this software is to adapt to the change that might happen when we are doing our assignments so they can manage the changes in the right way to keep survive.

Kisah Hidup Paman Gober

Akhirnya koleksi Kisah Hidup Paman Goberku sudah lengkap. Terima kasih kepada bro Andy yang masih menjual seri ini setelah sekian lama beredar.

Koleksi ini menceritakan tentang kisah hidup paman gober yang dibuat oleh Don Rosa. Dalam seri ini diceritakan bagaimana Paman Gober memperoleh kekayaannya dari awal, bagaimana dia berjuang hidup dalam menghadapi kerasnya lingkungan di sekitarnya, bagaimana dia memulai kerajaan kekayaannya, hingga pertemuannya kembali dengan Donal dan Kwak, Kwik, Kwek.

Kisahnya dibagi dalam 12 chapter, yang dibagi ke dalam 7 seri. Versi aslinya terdiri atas 2 buku, yaitu Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck dan Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion. Sekarang aku masih mencari yang versi aslinya, yang katanya akan keluar dalam versi hardcover. Kalau ada yang punya infonya, kasih tau ya. Cobain baca kisah ini deh, bagi penggemar Disney dijamin tidak akan kecewa 😀

He Leadeth Me

“He Leaded Me” atau dalam bahasa Indonesianya berjudul “Tenanglah Kini Hatiku” adalah salah satu lagu hymn kesukaanku. Ditulis liriknya oleh Joseph H. Gilmore dan lagu oleh William B. Bradbury, lagu ini ditulis pada 26 Maret 1862. Untuk cerita lengkapnya dapat dilihat di sini. Aku juga menemukan link untuk download lagunya di sini