Our recent project networking with Nodegoat evidenced how quickly webs of information can become complicated. For instance, the network of films, their directors, and relevant actors, writers, etc. quickly became a bit muddled in our Egyptian cinema project. The names of films and people overlap; the exact connections between that one large mass on the left and its branches blur. Although the outline colours can be charged, there is no clear-cut way to choose one colour for one type and another colour for another type, facilitating easy visualization. These have to be established through “conditions” within the design of the data, instead of, for instance, in the visualization panel.
Meanwhile, devoid of spatial data, the geographic representation of the project is currently meaningless, as seen here:
Conversely, other projects are not conducive to social representations, but work fairly well with geographical representations. For instance, this image presents a preliminary work of Sudanese authors and their “migration,” from birthplace to university to current residence (that will hopefully include lines representing their migration patterns in the future).
Although this map does not yet express the distinction between universities, birthplaces and cities of current residence, the points are revelatory simply by representing where the current Sudanese literary “elites” have lived at some point over the courses of their lifetimes. However, it’s likely that even this map won’t present the whole picture when complete, principally because I have left out childhood statistics. Due to the relative difficulty of ascertaining where all these authors went to primary school or in what specific city they lived, I have decided not to include this data at all. Similar phenomena would have occurred even in the overly complicated network of Egyptian cinema shown in the first image. A young actor or director may have played a minor role in one of the included films before becoming a star and taking on a role large enough to constitute Person 1, 2 or 3. Therefore, there would be a link between that person and a film that wouldn’t be documented in the network.
Ultimately, Nodegoat tries and overall succeeds at simplifying the process of creating networks and relationships. However, the very nature of these networks often makes them inherently complex, with countless executive decisions to condense and present the information in an easily digestible way.