cs5984: Information Visualization

Homework #2:  Visualization Design

Visualizing Travel Schedules,  
a.k.a. The Terrorist Detection Problem

Due:  Thurs Oct 4, in class.

The goal of this homework is to gain practice in designing new visualizations for new problems by rapid brainstorming and sketching.  Your assignment is to produce a design for a visualization of travel schedules.  In the research, new visualization methods are needed for this particular problem.

The data:  The general problem is as follows.  The data consists of a set of people traveling to various destinations around the world.  For each person, the data includes a list of destinations (name and geographic location), the time schedule (travel times, and length of stay), travel methods (e.g. airline, car, train, hitchhike,...).  Destinations include long stays as well as very short stays (e.g. flight layovers, stopping for the night when driving, etc).  Note that timezones mean same times at different locations have different clock times/dates.  The data could be for future or past schedules.  As to scale, you should shoot for as large a set of travelers and destinations as possible.

An example of this problem is terrorist detection.  By tracking the travel plans and history of a large group of suspected terrorists, it is desired to discover potential attack plans or analyze previous attacks to identify likely terrorist participants.

The tasks:  Your visualization should provide insight into the travel schedules and the inter-relationships between them.  Typical questions might include:  

What to hand in:  About 2 pages describing your proposed solution visualization as follows:

How you will be graded:  The criteria for grading are:

!Important:  Focus your time on thinking and dreaming up designs.  Don't waste your time trying to draw it in PowerPoint or making it functional.