BBC data visualisation project – DataArt

DataArt on BBC Backstage

The BBC and the University of Westminster are pleased to inform you of the online launch of a new public data visualisation project DataArt on BBC Backstage.

We believe that data is a vitally new reporting medium that tells us stories about our lives. Often this data is difficult to understand in its raw form of lists of numbers or text, but as we are exposed to it on a daily basis interpretation skills and access to information resources are increasingly important for us all. Converting this data into explorable visualisations helps us to comprehend it in ways that draw upon our innate capabilities to read information as images and patterns. As both a visual medium and a tool for reasoning, these visualisations straddle the disciplines of art, design, science and statistics.

Who is DataArt for?
DataArt aims to reach people who know little about visualisation but want to find out more, those looking at visualisation from an educational perspective and the existing developer community already engaged in producing their own work.

What are we providing?
DataArt provides public access to data visualizations of the BBC’s online resources be they news information from around the world, web articles, music data or video and learning resources.

For our launch we have released 4 visualisations for people to use immediately: Flared Music, 3d Documentary Explorer, SearchWeb, and News Globe. In addition we provide a learning resources section of the website giving further background information to the subject of visualisation including its histories and uses. This area will grow as the project develops and we hope will provide a rich source of educational material.

For more advanced developers we have also provided some initial access to tools, tutorials and computer code you can download and modify. Over the coming months, more visualisations will be released leading to a second phase of the project in November 2010, which sees the release of further source code using a variety of different programming languages and software libraries. All our visualisations are based on BBC data and use sources that are already open to the public which you can use immediately for your own projects. We will also be creating new data sources and hope to provide access to BBC data not currently available to the public.

Further releases will be publicised on our main site and via our facebook presence.

We are interested in your thoughts and feedback whether you are a complete novice to the subject area, a student or an advanced practitioner. In the project blog we encourage you to tell us what you think about DataArt, share your experiences and publish links to work you have made with the material we have provided. We’ll also pass on useful tips via the blog to help you get the most out of it. We’d also be delighted to hear your thoughts on via our facebook presence:

The project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and is the result of collaboration between the Centre for Research in Education Art and Media (CREAM), at the University of Westminster, BBC Backstage and BBC Learning.