CS-5630/6630 | Visualization | Fall 2014
Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - Printable Version

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Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - IVIunTaseR - 11-09-2014 11:53 PM

Link: http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/ or Link

This Visualization shows the strikes from 2004 - 2013 made by the drones " tiny airplane without a pilot controlled to fly for military purposes" by the US army on Pakistan. The visualization explore a hug data and it shows the children, civilian, and others who were killed by this technology. The page has more info for the ones who wants to know more about the subject.

The beginning of the visualization is interesting, where the lines drop as a bomb with a story to the year where it happen with a description on the victims. The bombs dropped and the victims are numbered, and you could see the ratio under the years where its great to compare the results that the drones made during the years. Moving your mouse over the chart will show you the many bombs were dropped, the date it happened, the victims, and where it happened with a short paragraph about the action.

I liked many things on the visualization, the idea and the purpose of it is simple, yet strong and affective. The colors were picked carefully and red serve the visualization just right. It's a clear visualization with many different ways to view it, also not confusing, since the programmer walks you through it indirectly. Moreover, everything happens in a good speed where your eyes could see and your brain can understand, I wasn't confused on what's going on at all, also I didn't spend a second to question it. Try to click on [VICTIMS] to see the way the visualization changes, the total attacks and victims are represented and detailed for a better view and I could see that Dec 2011 is the worst month with 23 bomb and 157 victim. Finally, finding the extra news down the page is pretty cool and it helps the visualization.

There are only few things I didn't like about the visualization. A map can be a good option to be added as another way to view the visualization, it should give a good overview about the area and how the attacks were done and where. The gray lines could be used to represent the [where], but here they're created randomly. The only way to go back for the few lines that were shown at the beginning of the visualization is to refresh the page. It took me a second to click all over the page to see what is clickable and what is not.

Overall, I think this visualization is great, that it helps the purpose it was made for, it has ton of useful information, and looking at it for ten minutes should be enough to come up with a quick conclusion on what you think about this technology.

RE: Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - t.li - 11-10-2014 02:05 PM

The visualization is pretty shocking to me on the first sight. The curved lines, which is a kind of chart junk, falling from the top of the screen look like drones dropping bombs. This helps the viewers to deepen their impression and saturate the whitespace, avoiding making the simply chart looks boring.

- The interactivity makes the visualization easier to read and more expressive. mouse-over those tiny block will pop out specific number of each category of victims/targets, and a story about that event

- One funny thing is that, the stacked bar chart shows a decreasing number of children and civilians got killed while the number of attacks did significantly decreased. I think the purpose of this visualization is to criticize the abuse of drones in military usage. However, this decreasing trend makes the visualization much more like a defeat of purpose.

RE: Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - MukteshKhole - 11-10-2014 09:38 PM

The visualization does succeed in telling a story and it tells it strongly. The animation is good and effective.Number of bombs dropped can be clearly seen. Important events are also shown. The color chosen matches the story that is being told. It also provides information on number of bombs dropped, civilians killed and others killed. Thus it is providing a lot of information without cluttering the visualization. The problem is there is no interactivity, user should have been allowed to select the year at least.

RE: Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - mcarter - 11-17-2014 04:39 AM

I agree with the general consensus. The visualization suits its purpose very well. It is an interesting anomaly that t.Li pointed out, where the percentage (and absolute numbers) of civilian casualties decreased as function of time.

One thing I found misleading about the visualization is the categorization of non-high profile targets as "Other"... I assume this is referring to lower ranking members of the high-profile targets' team, though this isn't specified. I think it is disingenuous to categorize non-high profile targets as "Others" because I feel it almost implies that they were collateral damage, whereas if they were part of the group with the high-profile target, they wouldn't really be consider collateral damage. Also, almost by definition, there are going to be fewer high profile targets than not, so of course the count of these is going to be low.

(On a separate note, I don't want to be misconstrued as condoning drone strikes. Any strike with the potential for collateral damage is unacceptable.)

Anyway, politics aside, I think the visualization is quite good. The color schemes and animation really make the visualization engaging, while keeping clutter to a minimum (aside from those curved lines...).

RE: Week 10: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - u0788158 - 11-17-2014 08:44 AM

The "Info" section explains the use of the "Other" label. Basically, the designers did not trust the definitions used by their data sources, so they tried to reflect the vagueness of those definitions. For example: "The Obama administration classifies any able-bodied male a military combatant unless evidence is brought forward to prove otherwise. This is a very grey area for us."

I really like the "Info" section, because it makes it clear what the designers' objectives were. It also cites sources and methodology.