Final stretch

This week is the final week of the class and we are preparing our presentation as well as the website for the final class. In terms of the website we have completed all the component parts, meaning the maps and the cityengine files along with the text which talks about our process.

We are now focused more on the presentation itself. Here we are planning to divide up the different sections, giving each member 6 slides equalling out to 18 slides. The remaining two slides we will use as start and finish slides. In terms of the presentation itself we want to show the process we went through. This involved not only creating the cityengine and Arcgis map files but also the process of data collection and going to archives. We also want to talk about the hypotheses that we had and now those changed over time in accordance to the data which we were able to collect

Hopefully everything will work out as planned and we will have a great presentation!

Gephi Tutorial

Last lesson we learned about network analysis. Network analysis focuses on displaying relationship data. Usually, this data is presented in a sort of mind map consisting of what is known as nodes and edges. Nodes are the individual data points and edges are the connections between these nodes. This picture below demonstrates this:

(http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/eps-gif/GraphNodesEdges_1000.gif)

Network analysis is useful in the sense that it shows us the relationships in possibly large quantities of points. A common example that has often been used is the network analysis of Facebook friends. Below is an example of a facebook friend network analysis created through Gephi taken from this youtube tutorial.

This image demonstrates that this person has friends from distinct groups. In the video, he elaborates saying that the groups were generally divided into different universities that he had attended or just people different geographical locations. This data shows that his facebook is populated with large distinct groups of friends rather than small scatters. It shows the different communities he has been a part of throughout his life and is a much better representation of the people in his friends list than the simple alphabetical list provided by facebook.

This tutorial however will not involve facebook data as facebook has recently placed regulations making it much harder to obtain data regarding friends and their respective connections. If we were to rewind a year, we could use a facebook application called netvizz which would extract our respective facebook friend data in a format usable in Gephi (GDF).

Instead, this tutorial will use a data set concerning the co appearances of characters in the novel Les Miserables. D. E. Knuth. This data set can be obtained in the following link.

After obtaining the data set, proceed to download Gephi. Gephi is a free program and can be downloaded here. After you have downloaded both files, install Gephi and unzip the Les Miserables file. Additionally, you may receive an error when opening Gephi for the first time stating that your version of java is not compatible. This can by simply downloading the newest version of java through a simple google search.

Once you have completed all of this, open up Gephi and you should be greeted
with a screen similar to this:

Once you have opened Gephi, click on file on the top left hand corner and then open. Then select the Les Miserables file you extracted before and you should be prompted with a screen with a few options. Select the following and click okay. You will then be greeted with an interesting looking cluster of nodes and edges (77 nodes and 254 edges to be exact!).

From here you can sort of organize and format the points by first choosing a layout. Personally, I prefer Forceatlas 2 though you can pick and choose which one you like best. This layout will cause the data to disperse and somewhat organize itself into relevant groups with similar connections making your network look something like this (you can zoom in using the middle mouse scroll).

Now although this seems pretty good thus far, numerous improvements can still be made. First of all, currently, all of the nodes are the same size. Depending on the complexity of the data, Gephi can also alter the size of the nodes based on numerous factors. These options can be accessed through this box located on the left hand side of the screen.

Due to the simplicity of the data set, we can only analyze the nodes in respect to their degree which really means their number of connections. We can display this either by changing the color of the nodes putting each one on a spectrum based on its degree. Or, we could change the size of the node which is the second tab with the three circles. For this tutorial lets change the size of the nodes. Press on the icon with the three circles and enter values for the minimum and maximum size of the nodes. Here are the values I chose to enter along with the resulting graph.

As you can see the nodes now greatly differ in size based on the number of connections they have with other nodes. However, the graph itself seems to be a bit squished. This can be solved by choosing the layout option: Expansion. This layout option will cause the nodes to move further apart. After using applying this layout a few times, the graph will look much more spaced out. I decided that it was probably better to change the node sizes a bit and ended up with the following:

Now that the Data points are more spread out and the nodes are different sizes based on their degree we can more clearly see the different groups present in the novel based on their co appearances. In order to see the names associated with each point, press on the T symbol on the button left hand corner as shown below. In addition you can also change the color of the nodes with the color block above the underlined A. I would suggest changing the color in order to more clearly see the names of the characters.

Additionally, one can also use color to define the different groups which are present in the data set. In order to do click on the statistics tab and click run on the modularity function. This function can be found on the right hand side of the screen.

A pop up will then appear, simply click okay and close the graph showing the calculations. The modularity basically calculates how the nodes are placed and their promixity to other nodes thus basically showing which groups are present. In order to display this data, once again return to the appearance tab but this time click on the color option.

Once here, select modularity class and click apply to see your graph be divided into different groups separated by color. Finally, now you can examine the data set and see for yourself the different groups present.

This data shows that not all the characters interact with each other in the novel based on co appearance. Rather, there are different groups of characters which follow different storylines. Still there are some characters which are parts of multiple groups and these can be seen near the middle of the cluster as larger nodes.

Overall this tutorial was aimed at showing the potential of network analysis and how it can be used to analyze and visualize data in a way which separates different groups. This data set is relatively simple and Gephi itself can deal with much more complicated things. This was merely an introduction. Well I hope enjoyed the tutorial!

3D Models of stuff

In the last few lessons we explored many different methods of 3D modelling. Each one of these methods allowed for the 3D visual reconstructions of real life objects or structures. These reconstructions allow for not only preservation but also the study of various aspects of the nature of the structures. Furthermore after learning about these approaches it is clear that each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Manuel Modelling

Manuel Modelling was explored through use of a sketchup. In this program we had to create the shapes ourselves. We were able to create visualizations of certain Carleton buildings although the overall quality was not extremely high. This is due to the fact that although the program was very intuitive and easy to use, the options available were somewhat limited and therefore intricacies were hard to add. Furthermore, it is sort of time consuming to add details to a model and although it was okay since we were only recreating one building if we were to model entire campuses or cities it would take far too long.

Procedural Modelling

We explored procedural modelling through the cityengine. This program started by procedurally generating a random city which it called “International City”. This program seemed to be really useful when it came to modelling a large number of buildings and larger objects. However it does have some shortcomings. The biggest for me personally was that the program was very difficult to use. I kept on crashing and although this may be be cause of my inexperience it probably wouldn’t be helpful even for a veteran. Furthermore the fact that the buildings are randomly generated means that they will probably not reflect reality. Also, although one can generate a city just with a click of a button someone actually had to create the code and brush up on the buildings in that city. One advantage though is the possiblity of study historical buildings and their change over time.

Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry was explored through the program photoscan. This program takes a bunch of photos of an object from different angles and turns it into points. These points are later meshed together to form solid shapes without holes which should represent the original object from the photos. From my personal experience, this did not work out perfectly. There were certainly flaws in the object upon completion and although it was really easy to use I didn’t really feel like I had much input into the creation of the object as the photos were already taken before hand and all I did was press some buttons. In terms of pros this method is really good for creating a really close and accurate depiction of objects. However, each creation would require a lot of photos.

Project

In terms of projects I saw that the modelling of ancient roman cities by Marie Saldaña really showed the capabilities of the scope of procedural modelling. She created a huge city and showed the change over time with just code on how the buildings should be created.

Just another Musser

I would like to begin my blog post by saying that you should wait before you judge me for choosing to model Musser Hall. The fact that Musser is conveniently rectangular is only half the reason I chose to model this building. The other half of my motivation stems from the historically erratic nature of Musser. Everybody knows that fourth Musser is the cultural hub of the campus. Seriously though it would be a crime to not have yet another model of this magnificent building.

Sarcasm aside, the experience of modelling Musser really was an interesting one. The biggest difficulty came from the fact that the photos of Musser I used weren’t exactly the highest quality. Also, there were only photos of one side which is why I only have one image of the front half of Musser. I think that if I were to do a more intricate modelling of any building on campus I would definitely have to take the time to get some high quality pictures. It would probably be best to go take the pictures by hand.

During the modelling itself it was also hard to add little intricacies such as protrusions as the overall image quality was really low. Nevertheless I believe that its these intricacies that really give the building a life-like feel. Modelling Musser also gave me a much greater appreciation for the building. Adding in the little intricacies showed me that Musser is actually more than just the rectangular prism everyone assumes it to be. All in all, modelling Musser was fun and would’ve been even better had there been better photos.

Final Project

For the final project as a part of this group I want to be able to explore data related to some of the newer aspects of carleton life. I honestly think that the room draw data is one which is really interesting and has not been represented well besides through a messy spreadsheet. Therefore I think it would be great as a personal as well as group goal to present this data in a way which is more visually appealing and easier to browse through.

Databases and other musings

My journey to the back end of word press was filled mostly with confusion. Indeed I explored the intricacies of phpMyAdmin though was mostly lost amongst the cluster or tables with names i mostly did not understand. However it did give me a new perspective on how the data from the word press site is actually represented in the back end. It’s like hving a blank space filled in my mind. Like when I found out how certain parts of the body worked in biology class, something I had never really considered before was now slightly clearer to me. I feel it has benefited me in the sense that these databases are often used to represent many of the websites I visit on a daily basis so therefore possessing knowledge of them is perhaps not much different than knowing about biological functions.

Moving on the two databases we learned about were relational and flat databases. Much like its name suggests, flat databases are much simpler. They are good are categorizing small data sets though often have redundancies and are inefficient. Furthermore, they aren’t able to envelop larger databases. Yet they are simple and much easier to use and get started with when compared to the more elaborate relational databases.

In contrast, relational databases are as mentioned much more complex. They can be used with much larger data sets yet are generally difficult to get working. Because of this, they are much less user friendly than flat databases. However they are much more efficient and much better at categorizing.

In conclusion both these databases have pros and cons and should be used in different scenarios.

Java what?

Prior to this class, my CS science experience was minimal. Now I feel slightly better. Creating my wordpress website was sort of an exciting experience. I felt pretty cool having my own server space and thus decided to name it after my dorm room in an attempt to make it feel more like home. One trouble i did have is finding a way to link my about page to the home page. Currently, it can be accessed through this link but I’m still working on it.

Code academy was also a new experience for me having never really coded before. I found Javascript to be quite an intelligently designed language. Now I also now what the source of the really annoying pop-ups is! Coding thus far has been somewhat fun, trying to figure out what I did wrong and feeling a sense of accomplishment when something actually works. However, I feel this is probably just because I’m a beginner and will soon find less satisfaction in writing simple lines of code.

Nevertheless, I look forward to continuing the journey and personalizing my website so that it really becomes my own!

Two Way Street

Two way street is a website which has cataloged around 1.9 out of the 2.2 million artifacts from the British museum. The sources which the site presents is the artifacts from the museum. These artifacts are physical objects which through this website have been given a digital life.

These artifacts are then processed through photographs. These photographs are then each given a description and then categorized into many smaller subgroups from the decade during which it was discovered, to the type of object it is to the type of decorations it has.

In terms of the presentation, the sight allows the user to navigate through different sub sections and categories of objects exploring the various objects. The objects themselves often do not have names and instead are represented by photos alone. This sort of presentation may make sense since there are millions of artifacts which have been cataloged thus that much text could be overwhelming when exploring the artifacts.

Overall the site itself is massive in its scale. There are almost 1.9 million artifacts cataloged and meaning about 1.9 objects which have been meticulously photographed and then given a description. In terms of navigation, one can either choose to explore the artifacts based on the various categories. Decades are represented by squares with darker squares showing that more objects had been collected during that decade. This in my opinion is a clever way of presenting an age old form of categorization. Other categorizations such as collections are generally represented by photos of objects within those collections.

The objects themselves though are many don’t have too much information associated with them besides the basic facts. This is probably due to the immense number of artifacts present in the collection. Overall the sight itself offers a good overview of the many artifacts available to be seen at the British museum though the information is not densely packed meaning anyone trying to discover historical roots of many artifacts will be left disappointed.

Mi casa

I would have to say that using sketchup has been a frustrating but fun experience. The program is often difficult to use with clunky controls (especially when drawing lines) though I did enjoy the challenge of figuring out ways to get about it. For example, Instead of drawing a rectangle that seemed roughly in the middle, I often drew two rectangles with a vertex at the midpoint with equal width and height in order to create a rectangle that is definitely centered. While making the house itself I found that adding small details such as protrusions go a long way to making the house look more realistic. I also found that adding paint to it made it look much uglier and therefore I refrained from doing so. I personally have no idea why the white part of the house is white but I decided to leave it be. Ultimately I think this entire experience has given me good insight into how 3D modelling works. It has also given me a much greater appreciation for architectures who have to meticulously think through all the small details of each house they design.

Why isn’t my roof straight?

My experience of sketchup today in class was below average. I would not consider myself a particularly tech savvy person so when my sketchup decided to continually tab for no reason I was a bit anxious. Ultimately, my dog house was unfit even for a dog. Yet the experience of trying to create a 3D objects was novel and fun. I think that although sketchup is intuitive to a certain extent. However in order to create a cohesive structure one does have to have foresight and some degree of planning. One of the things I found sort of annoying is how hard it is to backtrack in this program. I often found myself discovering mistakes after returning to previous parts of my structure. I found that it was difficult to alter previous components without disrupting the entire structure itself and thus ended up with and unevenly roofed doghouse. However, tis but another hurdle in the sketchup journey. Hopefully one day I’ll graduate from making godhouses and will get to recreate the all so beautiful Musser Hall.