|Oneliner||Modular Data Mapping, Auralization and Visualization Software|
|Summary||DataScan is a software project that dynamically renders information graphically in realtime. It is a visualization system whereby the form and function, data and representation are separated. It uses live data feeds harvested from the internet. Data gathered could be weather forecasts for different locales on the planet, news stories from the Associated Press, or any type of live electronic or sensor data that can be described in terms of an XML (Extensible Markup Language) hierarchical data format. This includes websites (HTML), webpages, images, pdf documents, files, and so forth. Anything that can be loaded into your web browser is fair game for harvesting.|
|End Date||December 31, 2008|
|Next Step||Processing.org and so many websites have similar functionality now — Contact, if interested.|
|Tags||data, scan, visualization, mapping, auralization|
Currently, DataScan is optimized to harvest Gnutella (http://www.gnutellanews.com) network search queries (as the data module/feed) and convert those file requests into a predefined visualization. A major goal of the project is to build a mechanism whereby live data is mapped onto a shifting set of visual palettes that can be defined by artists or whomever wants to build a graphical front-end. Similarly, data modules can be built to feed XML messages.
The core of the program is built so that both the style (visual/audio -> aesthetics) and information (data) are separate module types. This enhances the ability for artists, programmers, scientists, and others to create content display systems utilizing access to plugins that add functionality. This is converse to writing separate programs each time a specific graphical presentation is needed to display organized information.
The development of this system creates a layer of abstraction so that visualization and algorithmic compositions are not limited to programming in high level languages. Through the planning and adaptation to shifting sets of information types and graphical mappings, creation of visualizations and auralizations becomes much less complex than at present. This program is a stepping stone for the eventual ability for the general public to be able to manipulate numbers and develop their own inhabited and reconfigurable information spaces, aka personal augmented spaces.
DataScan is copylefted (version of an open source license) in accordance with the Free Software Foundations Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL, http://www.fsf.org/licenses/lgpl.txt) so that all JAVA source code is released along with compiled JAVA byte code. This vital feature allows others to change, edit, and embed this developed codebase into their own projects, find bugs, and most importantly, freely develop modules to enhance this software package through peer review and open community-based additions and subtractions of code/ideas. It is of the utmost importance that this software thrives off of contact by people. It needs people combing through the code and testing the interface to fully develop it. No one person could undertake this project with significant results.