Driver Personality Quiz

Team: Almaha Almalki, Mikayla Murphy, Ashley Wang, and Jingxian Zhang

The dataset we focused on was the US Fuel Economy Measurements. We noticed that fuel economy is not only related to vehicle classes but also to drivers’ driving habits, and found a list of tips and trips to improve fuel efficiency. We hope to tell a story about how driving habits and advanced vehicle technologies can improve fuel efficiency. Our target audience are car owners who want to save money in fuel efficiency. Our goal is to present players some knowledge about fuel efficiency (especially for vehicles they own) and how good their driving habits are.

Figure 1

The game will be on a racing arcade machine where players can have physical driving simulation. The screen is also a touch screen for all the digital interaction (Figure 1). In the game, players will be asked to finish a task, e.g. going to grocery store, in a route they select (city, highway, interstate). To win the game, they should try to reach higher fuel efficiency. Players start the game by choosing a vehicle and choosing a route (Figure 2). Then, they will answer some questions for the vehicle set up, such as whether to enable start-stop system and whether to take the canoe off the vehicle.

Figure 2

When en route, the game will monitor players’ driving habits such as whether they exceed speed limit and whether there are hard acceleration and braking. At the end of the game, players will receive their race result and their personal driving profile, which they can print out or share on social media (Figure 3). In the handout, players are shown how their driving habits and vehicle setup affects the money they can save on fuel and how to improve their fuel efficiency. By playing the game, players can actually relate their driving habits to the accurate amount of money they can save, and the driving personality in the profile can be a fun way for them to know how they drive and what to improve.

Figure 3

Ginkgo – more than just a smelly tree

Team: Ashley Wang, Jingxian Zhang, Sam Resnick, Lawrence Sun

The data say that there is a high number of ginkgo trees in New York. This number has only increased throughout the years, even outpacing the average rate of increase. We want to tell this story to find out why people would continue planting these stinky trees, and what makes them so popular.
We started by looking at the NYC tree census data and were overwhelmed with tens of millions of data points.  However, after scrolling through the data, one particular tree caught our eye.  This was the Ginkgo tree!  Most of us had smelled this particular tree and were disgusted by it and wondered why this tree was so prevalent in NYC.  After looking at the tree census data over two decades, we noticed that the number of trees in NYC were increasing by a certain percentage, but the number of Ginkgo trees increased at a greater rate.  This piqued our curiosity.  After researching the Ginkgo tree, we learned that it is an ancient and hearty tree with a rich history and is extremely popular in Asian cultures for cooking and medicinal use.  With this knowledge, we looked for data on the increase in Asian population in NYC to see if there was a correlation.  By graphing the increase in Ginkgo trees in each city borough and overlaying the increase in Asian population in each borough, we saw a trend: boroughs with a large percent increase in Asian population also saw a large increase in Ginkgo trees.  Although this does not necessarily indicate causation, we did learn that there is a well known “scavenger economy” in NYC amongst Asian communities where people pick and gather Ginkgo fruit.  This increase in demand for the fruit could have lead to the planting of more trees. Moreover, as a hardy tree, its low maintenance cost may also be a reason lead to its increase.

Figure 1 Increase rates for Ginkgo and all trees in NYC
Increase rates for Gingko trees and Asian population in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan

We liked the idea of presenting the data visualizations on a sketchbook, flipping pages to reveal more information. A sketchbook is commonly used to present a study of a specific object, especially one found in nature. If we pursued this project further, we might create a video in which a person is drawing on a sketchbook while the story is being narrated.  
Since our narrative is a playful one, we decided to present our data in an a whimsical way as well. This was the reason behind the bar charts made out of trees, and the timeline chart, which slightly over inflates the importance of the ginkgo tree.  Our story is a story of human interest intended to build appreciation of the Ginkgo tree as well as to describe a possible reason for its popularity in NYC.  Because of this, we decided that the best way to draw our audience in was to tell a story in an informal way that allows our audience to feel like they are discovering the story of the Ginkgo tree’s popularity on their own.

Link to presentation: Ginkgo – more than just a smelly tree 

The 1995, 2005, and 2015 NYC Tree Census
The 1990, 2000, and 2010 US Census Data
Why do we keep planting stinky Ginkgos?

Jingxian’s Data Log for 2/13/2017

10:20am Browsed WeChat and Instagram.
10:35am Replied messages from my mom and friends.
10:45am Looked for dorayaki recipes from my phone.
10:55am Read emails; created notes.
2:30pm Wrote emails.
5:00pm Watched online lecturers and took notes.
6:00pm Looked for smoothie recipe online and saved some of them.
8:00pm Searched for flight tickets for summer from Expedia and saved the search results to compare later.
9:00pm Accepted meeting invitation and added it to Google calendar.
9:20pm Wrote Data Log.
9:30pm Took screenshots of some restaurants from Yelp and sent them to friends.
9:35pm Looked for dorayaki recipes again. Saved one to my phone.
9:40pm Finished the data log and submitted it.

Ventusky – Wind, Rain, and Temperature Maps

Ventusky is a weather visualization platform developed by ImMeteo, a Czech meteorological company who focuses on weather prediction and meteorological data visualization.

Figure 1 Ventusky interface

Ventusky presents worldwide weather maps including wind, rain, temperature, air pressure, etc (Figure 1). It has weather data of the past week and can play the timeline as a progress bar to show the weather change. Ventusky supports users looking up for cities/provinces and provides them with detailed information (current weather, weather forecast, sun and moon info, etc) about the cities/provinces (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Detailed weather information about Boston in Ventusky

Audience of Ventusky can be anyone who is interested in knowing the weather information (current or past) in some places. They can be passengers of flights or backpackers checking the weather in destinations, residents who wish to know the affected area of snowstorm, or even researchers who want to see the current weather or recent weather change.

In my view, Ventusky aims to provide users with up-to-date worldwide weather information through an intuitive map interface. It serves as a platform for users to look at current weather, weather change, and weather forecast in a visualization method but not the conventional way – reading text. By providing multiple features (temperature, air pressure, clouds, etc) that can be integrated in the visualization, it also fits users’ need to look at various weather features in one interface.

In fact, the first wind map I saw is not Ventusky, but this one below (Figure 3). The wind map in Figure 3 is concise, beautiful, and does a good job in presenting flow animation, but not as effective as the Ventusky one. Ventusky not only displays wind map but also other weather features such as temperature and clouds, the combination of which makes the visualization more informative. Moreover, the detailed information such as weather forecast for specific cities/provinces not only makes it helpful to a wider range of audience but also makes sure Ventusky has the value to be revisited by users. Last but not least, the history weather data and play-timeline function also add value to Ventusky.

Figure 3 Another Wind Map

In terms of meteorological data, maps are good presentations since they provide an intuitive view by allowing users to see weathers of different places at one time. Compared to printed map, online maps also do a better job in providing interactive interfaces and allowing zoom-in/out for detail checking. In that way, Ventusky seems to be an effective platform for weather visualization.

However, I feel the color map is a little difficult to read in some circumstances. For instance, when selecting temperature as a feature, the colors for -10°F and 80°F look similar in the map, making some area in Canada and Mexico in almost same color. Another thing may be interesting to consider is whether it’s possible for users to select any two features they are interested in to present in the interface. Currently one feature is fixed to wind and users can change the other feature.