eResearch Australasia Visualisation Challenge 2009

Submission by Paul Bourke
November 2009

Challenge document: challenge.pdf

The intention was to develop a live tool with which one could explore the progress of the markets within a 3D environment in real time or over any arbitrary segment of history. The impression was to give the observer the sensation of travelling down or around a time tunnel. No external data was utilised and a very precise mapping of data to visuals was attempted.

The key attribute of the tunnel is the radius, the average radius is determined by the DJ Industrial Average. As the index shrinks the sense of constriction heightens. The length of the tunnel is the time segment under study.

The companies are evenly distributed around the tunnel, this approach scales well since the radius only increases by the square root of the number of companies. Each companies stock is represented as a track made up of spheres, the radius of the sphere is determined by the volume of shares traded. The colour of each sphere is determined by the price of the shares, ranging from blue (low) to red (high). In both cases the ranges (volume and price) can be chosen to be local to the company and time segment being explored, global over the history of the company, or global over time and companies.

Data range selection and reduction is one of the requirements for a meaninful visualisation of large volumes of data. When showing the whole period of the data set provided it is straightforward to create short time windows and average the company stock values within that period. This is not possible with the news items which cannot be meaningfully averaged. The solution is to only show the items within a sliding window, even then it is sometimes overwhelming. In the images and animations provided that window is related to the camera position but the center of the sliding window could equally be user controlled. Where possible, each news item is related radially to the stock it is associated with.

Title:   The Tunnel of Despair
Entry form:   PDF file (Entry_Form.pdf)
A2 print/poster:   PDF file (poster.pdf)
Animation:   QuickTime (480x270), H264 codec [27MB] [Original created at 1920x1080]