Visualization and Open Data

So, I have now been back in Sydney for two weeks, have taken up a position of Visiting Scholar at the University of Sydney, (Design Lab, Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning) and have commenced teaching on two undergraduate courses. It is the first week of the academic year, the campus is very busy and it is 30 degrees.

Today, alongside Elmar Trefz, a co-lecturer, I was talking with third year Information Visualization students about balancing aesthetics and communication in visualizations. I used these examples from a static, terrain visualization project I undertook some time ago to illustrate a this.

Pencil Sketch of the Lake District
Automatic Pencil Sketch of the Lake District National Park, UK.

The image is created through selecting depth discontinuities in a high-resolution z-buffer and weighting image-level pixels according to a threshold.

The data used in the production of these plots was, at the time, subject to licencing constraints from the provider, Ordnance Survey, UK. The data is now released under a creative commons licence. This opening up of publicly funded datasets has created many new opportunities for developers and designers. However, there are still some reserved datasets that I hope the release strategy will one-day reach, especially the 1:10000 elevation data.

I am looking forward to seeing what datasets this year’s Design Computing students discover and link to drive their final projects.