Conference Profile Network Visualisation

August 23rd, 2010 § 3

One of the things that amazes me everytime I go to a conference is how interesting people are in terms of their interests – personal, professional and academic. If you’re lucky and socialise effectively you may meet people who have similar interests or simply inspire you to approach your topic from a different perspective.

I’m curious to see how a simple tool could be developed and used for mapping these interests and specialties from the profiles of individuals – maybe when they register for a conference/unconference. Could this be done in a way that participants can see possible common themes, relationships, hot spots for finding people or workshopping?

This could be useful for conference organisers as well as participants.

Would love to know of any tools – if any – are already out there.


§ 3 Responses to “Conference Profile Network Visualisation”

  • devdsp says:

    A force directed graph where each user is a node and each interest is a node (colour or shape could be used to differentiate them). Link user nodes with their interest nodes with edges. Run the graph through a force directed layout engine and render the result. `fdp` from the GraphViz project could handle that quite easily.

  • joannemihelcic says:

    I hasten to add that I don’t have a ‘technical’ background. I am interested in how this tool would look to the users as well – so how user friendly would it be to a consumer.

  • devdsp says:

    The GraphVis layout engines run as command line programs that output in a handful of raster and vector formats. The input is a simple text file that describes the graph type, then the nodes and the edges between nodes. There are binaries of the Graphvis tools on the AT&T project site, search for “graphviz tutorial” in your favourite engine to see what it takes to run it.

    There’s also the option of generating them in perl which might be easier if you can get access to a text file with each of the users and their interests.

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