Data Visualization

First – Sources and Methods

John Stasko and the computer scientists at the Information Interfaces Lab at Georgia Tech may not have found the Holy Grail of visual analysis but they have come pretty darn close with their Jigsaw product.

This extraordinary visualization tool automatically extracts entities (names, places, dates, etc.) fromplain text documents. Then, it automatically creates a visualization of the relationships between those entities and the documents containing them. The screenshots below do not do it justice (I hope to have a video of the product in action within a couple of days, though).


The program is fully customizable so you can add or delete data, designate entities or create relationships to modify what the automatic entity extractors come up with.

The real power of the tool comes into play after the data is in the program. You can play with it in a variety of powerful and interesting ways all accessible through a drop dead easy user interface.

The software is continuously improving. On the horizon is the ability to use web input and there is a long analyst generated to-do list that the grad students at GA Tech are cranking through one at a time.

The software runs on a desktop and was developed with a DHS grant so government and academics should reach out to John for a test copy. GA Tech is also home of the Visual Analytics Digital Libraryand well worth checking out.

From a visual analysis conference sponsored by the National Visualization And Analytics Center

Second – Sources and Methods

Yesterday, I posted my initial reaction to an extraordinary piece of software called Jigsaw I saw demo-ed during my visit to GA Tech for the Workshop on Visual Analytics Education sponsored by NVAC. Today, John Stasko and his team uploaded a video of the software in action that is a must-see.

I understand the video is a little old so some of the functions I saw are not in this video. The good thing about John and his band of software wizards, though, is that they are constantly improving the product. 

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One response

  1. I remember looking at Jigsaw when I was in government, back in 2007. Has there been adoption by any government users in the past year? At the time I felt it was interesting but I could have given you a list of others (Palantir, VAI, Accenture of all people, LMCO) who had similar tools at equivalent levels of performance & features, at least as of that time. Maybe what you saw (that isn’t in the video) was much more advanced.

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