From Boids to Documents – Part 2Posted: July 20, 2012
If you haven’t read Part 1 head there!.
This year we started the development on this new version of the boids program. The idea: each element is a document, and they can be grouped by similarity.
In order to create such a thing now we needed a parser module that read documents like PDF files and create a data structure that provides the similarity between each of them. That was done entirely by a partner while I was focusing in the visualization itself.
As the paper describes the idea was to create a 4th rule to the Boids Algorithm that basically will direct the element to get nearer other similar elements. There are several ways to do this and they are described on the publication. We applied that idea along a modified algorithm designed by myself that easily takes the similarity values into cohesion like behavior. The results were pretty impressive after some tweaking on the other rules.
To provide more insight to the user on the visualization we developed a coloring code were the user simply selects a keyword and the documents that contain that keyword would be highlighted with a user selected color. Going beyond that, the user could select an element to show the title of that particular document and even open it from that interface.
We also added freeform movement and other interactions that let the user move around the 3D space.
In other words, we developed a whole different way to browse documents and the application served as a proof of concept for a different take on visualizing documents. And we didn’t stop there.
Tune in next time to know how we added Kinect support to the whole thing!.