Tuesday, November 24, 2009

484. New Media Studio (NMS / NMRI) Photography Gig for the NASA Data Visualization Conference at the Upham Hotel (SB, CA, Oct 27, 2009)

Blurb for the Photography Portfolio Above: NASA Data Visualization Conference Hosted by the New Media Studio (http://nmri.org) at the Upham, Santa Barbara, California. October 27, 2009. Conference participants include: Bruce Caron, Marty Landsfeld, John Moreland, David Nadeau, Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, Jeff McWhirter, Chris Torrence, Tommy Jasmin, Suresh Santhanavannan, Kevin Ward (out sick?), Eric Russell, Robert Simmon, and Tom Rink.

Dr. Bruce Caron of the New Media Studio asked me if I wanted to engage in some photography and errand-running for a conference on data visualization funded by NASA, and of course, as curious as I am, I said "yes"! This conference or "data summit" was quite a unique and humbling experience in several respects:

(1). The group was very small and interactive, in the "sherettes" format; people worked in groups of three, and these groups were rotated throughout the day based on a mix of numbers, shapes, and colors designated to each individual; participants were given problems and challenge questions, and they were encouraged to write answers on a webiste as well as brainstorm on sheets of papers, which were posted up on walls around the room; this sherettes conference format is quite unusual--compared to the routine 15-minute conference powerpoint talk that allows very minimal two-way street interactivity that can be displayed in a tangible format--I think that if this style of conferece were adopted at a much wider scale then research collaborations would end up being a lot more meaningful.

(2). The meat of the conference--Technical Issues in Data Visualization--was pretty much way over my head and made me realize how much I don't know. I am an "environmental media" graduate student, but I'm as primitive as "paper and pencil scanned into photoshop" (I'm so primitive I even DRAW out my maps rather than use GIS!) whereas the people around me are individuals who... who... design weather maps that my dad and my fishermen friends stare at all the time! It's fantastic! I also heard several concerns about "data compatibility issues" and "the structure of grant funding sources." The group was clearly interdisciplinary, and they were frustrated on how funding sources "frame" the way how research is directed and is preventing true "interdisciplinary" pursuits to address fundamental issues such as data compatibility. Funding sources are limiting the capacities of advancing research simply by constructing arbitrary boundaries on disciplines and projects.

(3). I was encouraged to create a Twitter account for this NASA data summit conference.... It's very limited... only two posts...
http://www.twitter.com/stokastika... I'm not so sure how I feel about USING Twitter yet. All I know for sure is that I think that Twitter continues to promote ADHD thinking. I like to express myself in larger chunks of information rather than trying to continuously and compulsively sell myself in a sensationalizingly smack-dabbing 140 characters.... Okay, all novel things intimidate me. If I were truly open-minded, I would be experimental with Twitter.... Okay, okay... another day....

(4). I have to admit, I was nicely paid to help out! And I had a stock of doughnuts and cookies for the week which I tried to distribute to my housematies. I had so many sweet things myself that I ended up not wanting to eat any sugar for 3 weeks.... I couldn't even enjoy Halloween!!!
From a photographer's point of view, it was an "ideal" photographic setting for me. Low, soft light... reflections in windows... it reminded me of several shoots during my short-term apprenticeship with Mark Robert Halper over the summer; I think even he himself would have been intrigued by the lighting in the conference room. Since my internship with Mark, I met 3 or 4 photographers from renowned newspapers in southern California. Honestly, there's no comparison in quality. Mark's work is just a step, significant leap beyond the standard. Honestly, a vast majority of news journalism photography isn't all that great... unless you get into the National Geographic big leagues. It's funny to think how a short-term internship can profoundly impact me; I hear Mark's voice in my head almost all the time when I shoot: "Create something that doesn't necessarily exist in the world outside" and "Build a photograph from the ground up, from scratch, from a blank slate" are notions that keep coming back to haunt me....

Dr. Caron is organizing a book surrounding this conference, which I think is fantastic! It will be nice to see what research may turn out of such a conference. I also admit that there were a lot of "cool buzz words" floating around... it was a jarble of a semantic jungle to my ears, to my brain... goes to show how much I need to learn... and surely another bout of inspiration for a semantic jungle cartoon!

Chaotic Verbiage of the NASA Data Viz Jargon Jungle:
geoscience ~ pagerank ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 1 ~ red ~ green ~ blue ~ triangle ~ circle ~ square ~ data visualisers ~ dataviz ~ bridge science-outreach divide ~ social networking ~ IPD ~ proprietary versus open source ~ pure Java script ~ AJAX ~ Spring ~ HTML 5 ~ canvas object ~ AJAX on server ~ compatibility issues ~ fragmented government funding programs ~ Google javascript ~ file format issues ~ Flex / Flash ~ Java-Spring-AJAX versus Flex-Flash, what will rule? ~ GIS ~ mapping data on landscapes ~ arcGIS ~ data versus visual representation of data ~ 2D-3D-4D-5D ~ underserved user groups? ~ writing / editing book ~ data and video ~ animations ~ video distribution ~ book content ~ gridded data ~ grid to grid fusion capabilities ~ science-public ~ the perfect earth data remote sensing visualization tool-system ~ main components? ~ book audience ~ viewing Earth data ~ jpg 2000 ~ geo TIFF? KML ~ grid data talk to GIS ~ smart maps ~ GIS point and polygon data and grid and satellite data ~ open source COTS versus custom tools ~ write plug-ins for existing packages ~ repertoire of software ~ durable URLs ~ sources of error ~ tool kits ~ component frameworks ~ different presentations of the same data ~ html-Flash-CMS ~ wiki "build your own web page" ~ NSF promote science-society divide through funding structure, before 1950s science had private funding structure ~ social media ~ emerging technologies ~ data CMS ~ RAMADDA ~ visualization IS conveying information ~ teacher knows answer, needs to convey, scientist is exploring the question, needs to convey ~ outreach programs too top-down with no feedback ~ "public doesn't understand science"? ~ two-way motivation of science and community ~ features for tools ~ embedded description ~ error tracking ~ error propagation during data fusion ~ resample data for fusion ~ facilitate data fusion ~ raw data, processed-regridded-data ~ algorithm-tools-gridding are data-dependent ~ embed data units, scaling, offsets ~ standards for data fusion ~ openDAP to OGC ~ acquisition-calibration ~ storage precision ~ omission ~ measurement ~ interpolation in gridding ~ reprojection ~ visualization ~ round off of floating points ~ error or uncertainty ~ flagging ~ data quality levels ~ confidence intervals ~ plot results of model ensembles ~ COTS as effective software engineering and management ~ software engineering perspective ~ data processing ~ spatial and temporal resolution ~ time distance from desired date ~ quality of metadata ~ provenance (birth place) ~ lowest error ~ data provider ~ credibility of curator ~ consistency ~ outlier detection ~ overview, zoom and filter, details on demand ~ strop screwing around with the multiplicity of data formats ~ lack of data convention, though standard format ~ data and metadata ~ enhanced semantics ~uniform tools for translating data ~ education for data providers ~ teckies ~ enthusiasm to contribute ~ user-friendly book for dabblers with data visualization ~ politics major driver, motivation to take credit for tangible results, branding ~ status quo likely to continue ~ proliferation of semi-redundant software ~ refinement ~ reinforces success ~ future: Google Earth, but with data ~ immersive technology: 2D image contour, 3D volume surface, 4D 3D + time, animated videogame, 5D multiple parameters ~ show data in multiple ways, visually and analytically, not just "pretty pictures" ~ data aesthetic ~ probing ~ transects through data ~ scatter plot ~ slice and dice ~ lumping and splitting ~ time series analysis ~ multiple linked views into the same data 4-up ~ geographic displays with charts ~ 3D has problem with perspective ~ exploration capability ~ 2D control pixel color, transparency, glyph ~ domains create grid data from point-observation data ~ parameterizations ~ large-scale grids, tiling ~ integrated data systems ~ client applications ~ Barnes objective analysis ~ resampling ~ irregular and unstructured grids ~ server ~ NCEP ~ single 3D-field ~ community-based-large-social-media ~ relationship meningitis outbreak and precipitation patterns of sub-Saharan Africa ~ all data can be mapped on Google Earth (real-time movie), down to resolution of people doing activities in real time, loss of privacy? ~ Carl Sagan Cosmos visual signals with narrative ~ planet walks ~ painted lines ~ hierarchizing, prioritizing data highlight and representation, filtering ~ verisimilitude ~ make systems appear as audience expects to appear ~ Google Earth discontinuous boundaries ~ image sweet spot, make data discoverable ~ enable system monitoring ~ processing pipeline ~ thumbnail ~ data formatting ~ complete metadata ~ lightweight animated image ~ lossless versus lossy compression ~ how much do users care? ~ grids sample a continuous function of reality ~ sampling has aliasing artifacts ~ interpolation to reduce aliasing artifacts ~ track propagation of error ~ file format, files often store the result, but not the path to that result and the error function ~ floating-point representation as text ~ change resolution ~ incomplete or inconsistent metadata ~ undocumented data satellite correction ~ incorrect math (floor versus ceil versus trunk) ~ color code uncertainty ~ data-software-hardware different dimensionality ~ 3D spatial dimension displays ~ interactive displays ~ iPhone location app ~ real world drives 2D representation ~ single user versus collaborative displays ~ detail optimization ~ eye level ~ facilitate discovery of data and its provenance ~ no "black boxes" ~ monolithic GUI ~ social media share workflow artifacts facilitate iterative collaboration ~ heavy weight but not on the web Java ~ AJAX overly complex ~ Flash Silverlight proprietary ~ lack well-defined toolkits for building user interfaces ~ weak standard support among browsers ~ browser quirks ~ sandboxing ~ client-side GUI ~ desktop and iPhone platforms ~ API ~ extension for customization ~ COTS proprietary data formats a problem ~ UI level to rendering level ~ future data display ~ 2D and 2.5D most useful, 3D and beyond no return for efforts ~ humans poor perceiving depth, humans perceive 6 depths at most at one time ~ human eyes rarely same strength ~ computer technology poor illusion of deptch ~ holideck data collection? ~ human perception at Z plane is 10% of our 2D strength ~ domain conflicts ~ perception, cultural constructs of colors (e.g. red = hot, blue = cold), dimension-independent issues versus problems specific to 2D or 3D data ~ calibration ~ canonical, didactic, apogee ~ cross-referencing ~ incentivize sharing of data ~ on-line community ~ build the best tool ~ audience of funding sources, tool-makers, program managers ~ basecamp ~ netCDF ~ flexible syntax ~ sound-on-sound tutorials ~ NYT graphics ~ IEEE

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