Javascript Visualization, UA Branding and Open Forum

Date: 
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014 - Officers in attendance Matt H, Jonathan S, Laura L, Mark F - Presenter.

Q: Any news on UA branding requirements for websites?

A: Web developers working in External Relations have been given no information. Vendor, Ology, is doing everything. UA staff is not part of the process.

You can’t go by the current look of the arizona.edu home page: it’s not final. It’s currently being evaluated and there may be a v2 in Aug. or Sept. Newest logo lockups are final but no word on web banners.

External Relations has brand meetings every other Friday. If you want to attend a brand meeting you can request an invite at http://brand.arizona.edu/special-request-form (check the box for “Sign me up for the next brand meeting”). Recent meetings focused on feedback on current brand implementation. You can bring ideas.

Pages linked off the Arizona.edu home page and all 19 college level pages are already “being looked at.” Not clear to UA External Relations staff what that really means. No timelines have been given by Ology.

There was some discussion about improving documentation for integration of LDAP w/ Drupal

Q: Has anyone had any experience with implementing Google Universal Analytics? Are there any “gotcha’s” to be aware of?

A: Although you may still be seeing prompts to upgrade when you look at your analytics, sites are currently being auto-transferred to new architecture by Google. You can find out if your site has been transferred at https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/upgrade/faq#ua-or-ga (click the arrow next to “In your account”).

The old tracking code will work with the new architecture—until Google decides not to support it (no indication when that will be).

Drupal Google Analytics module handles the upgrade without problems. People with basic setups have implemented the new tracking code without problems. If you have customizations there is information about what will need to be changed when new tracking code is implemented at https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/upgrade/reference/gajs-analyticsjs

Javascript Visualization:

Mark Fischer shared some recent work he’s been doing with JavaScript visualization of data. Big idea: how can we use data to communicate things better through visualization and make data answer a question or solve a problem?

UTIS uses Zabbix monitoring tool to track status of network devices across campus and he’s written scripts so it can talk to D2L. Zabbix is good at time-series data, but IU not for showing public or high level administration.

Mark wanted to figure a way to get data out and into iOS device. What’s available for free is not so good and what looks like it might work is very expensive. He’s working on an app using web views in iOS app running Highcharts JavaScript library. It does browser and platform detection and can tell if interface is touch or mouse. HTML and JS can be inside the app. It gets the raw data from the server and creates visualizations on the client. It can also be used on a traditional website.

Examples using Highcharts:

  • Pie chart of virtual vs physical servers
  • D2L logins through time
  • Mail Transit times

Another experiment: Campus map of network device status showing where devices that are having problems are located (could have been helpful during recent power outage).

  • Uses D3 JS library (D3JS.org) to show geo-data as SVG image.
  • Data comes from UA Planning, Design, and Construction (PDC) JSON service.
  • D3 library is lower level than Highcharts but Highcharts has limited geospatial functions.
  • Required lots of trial and error to get data from PDC format to one that worked with D3 (used http://ogre.adc4gis.com/).
  • Every page load re-renders data.
  • Data saved in a file on web server not pulled from PDC each time.
  • Required several layers of data: buildings, roads, bike paths

General discussion on data visualization:

  • BIS (Building Information Systems) like GIS for building interiors, e.g. ???Arcibus??? Can be used to map are physical infrastructure within a building. Some questions about level of accuracy of construction compared to plans.
  • For Drupal, Google Charts module is an option
  • Fundraising goal thermometer using just HTML and CSS
  • Edward Tufte, MIT emeritus, researcher on data visualization. Beautiful Evidence, sparklines, critique of PowerPoint.
  • http://bost.ocks.org/mike/ visualization of algorithms