Posts Tagged NodeXL

Final draft Visualization – Part 2

Mar 31st, 2014 Posted in Public History | no comment »

 

 
YOU MUST READ THE PART ONE RECAP FIRST so you know where I am going with things.

For starters, HERE IS THE REVISED AND COMPLETED MAP ON GOOGLE MAPS – Mad River Cemeteries.

A screen shot is a little harder for this one, so it’s best to just VISIT THE LINK. and poke around but here’s the idea:
 

 

Mad River Cemeteries Google Maps final draft

 

When you click on a marker, it will give you the lat/long (in some cases, and they are noted, I had to approximate the location based on directions given so some may not be exactly right – I welcome any corrections, please comment) and other information such as whether it is still there, how many burials if known, condition, etc.  There are only three cemeteries still in use today – Myrtle Tree, Nettle Creek, and Terre Haute. Myrtle Tree and Nettle Creek also had churches associated with them. (So did many of the family cemeteries including Shaffer and Zerkle, but that is for another project.)

 

I had a little fun with the markers, don’t hold it against me. I did color code Shaffer, Zerkle, and Terre Haute to correspond with my NodeXL relationship charts.
And that brings me to the NodeXL charts I created.

Cemetery Groups Shaffer Cemetery


Cemetery Groups Shaffer Cemetery

 

Cemetery Groups Zerkle Cemetery 2

Cemetery Groups Zerkle Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above two NodeXL charts show the relationships between the people in each cemetery (connections) and where they are buried (color). Corresponding colors in each indicate which families are related. As I said before in my first test, these won’t work for a larger data set so that is why I didn’t include one for Terre Haute. It is the largest cemetery and there is no way I could represent it in a NodeXL file. You can see some of the relations are indicated above in Orange.

 

 

Zerkle Cemetery Families

Zerkle Cemetery Families

Shaffer Cemetery Families

Shaffer Cemetery Families

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two NodeXL charts above show the relationships between the people buried in the cemetery and between those buried across the cemeteries. The colors indicate relationships. You can see the two largest families are the George and Catherine (Roush) Zirkle families (indicated by aqua) and the Abraham and Margaret (Maurer) Zirkle families (indicated in blue – not exactly the same color blue, oops. It’s a royal blue in the Shaffer cemetery and a dark blue in the Zerkle cemetery). Incidentally, George and Abraham were brothers.

 

Cemetery Cluster Zerkle Cemetery

Cemetery Cluster Zerkle Cemetery

 

The above cluster was just something I used in the analyzation section of NodeXL. I love how it came out but I don’t know how I did it. It shows the different family relations in the Zerkle cemetery. The program chose the colors, so they really don’t indicate anything other than a family relationship. I tried to repeat it in the Shaffer cemetery but couldn’t. You can see how this would never work for a larger data set, it’s almost too much here.

So there we go. I’ve visualized until my eyes were ready to pop out. I welcome feedback. If anyone can tell me how to do a relationship chart for a really BIG set of data, please let me know!

 

 

Final draft Visualization – Part 1: Recap

Mar 30th, 2014 Posted in Public History | no comment »

 
This blog will be in two parts. In this first part, I will summarize what I have done so far and refer back to previous blogs as I have gone along this process of figuring out how to visualize some part of the project I am still thinking through and that will be my final thesis project.

The idea is to use technology to enhance research and discover something new using visualization techniques. Considering my ultimate project of creating a completely open source, collaborative, and crowd sourced cemetery database, I had hoped to have more commentary as I went along on this blog. But since I plan to continue to work on this over the next year, hopefully people will find it and comment.

My first goal was to map all the cemeteries in one area – I chose Mad River, Champaign Co., OH because I have spent a lot of time doing genealogy research in the area. (See my family history blog both here on AOM and my previous blog on Blogger.) I tried several different programs, but none did exactly what I had in mind. I ultimately settled on plain old Google Maps, because they recently changed things so you can upload a spreadsheet of information and I thought that might be useful. So I tried it, even before I had my spreadsheet fully finished. You can see how that worked out on my blog from March 13, 2014.

Since that didn’t really seem to turn out to be what I wanted, I decided truly what I wanted was to be able to take the multiple historic maps that I have used in my research, and layer them over a map that indicated where the cemeteries are located now. Many families, like my own, owned property that spilled over the county line between Champaign and Clark counties. I also wanted to see how many of the cemeteries that currently have place names (ie. those that Google Maps actually recognizes without me having to label them. Many of them are listed in the Ohio gazetteer) occurred on property that was owned by someone with the same name. I had a hunch all of them were named after an original land owner. I still want to accomplish this, but what I found out about that process is that it is excruciatingly time consuming, has a huge learning curve that I do not have the time for right now, and will take extra time for the web site to load and maybe that is not ideal for short-attention span blog readers. I have a feeling I will have to take a class on GIS at some point to try to figure this all out. I did learn some things about the cemetery names just from comparing the historic maps to my digital map. You can read about that on my blog from March 16, 2014. I’m still working on some of that as I continue to research those two cemeteries.
Anyway, besides those drawbacks, I also feel like that approach doesn’t address the purpose of the project – to find a visualization that is representative of a larger whole. In other words, what can I do to visualize something small that I can do anywhere? Using historic maps to see if there are cemeteries on the property of a person the cemetery is named after is fine for Champaign and Clark counties in Ohio, but what about other places? Can I do that in Arizona? Maybe, but it’s not going to be quite as effective.

Then I thought I would try to show change over time somehow. You can see my thoughts on this on my blog from March 20, 2014. I was trying to figure out how to show that with maps. I tried to learn to use Omeka and Neatline to do some mapping, but just installing both required a ton of coding knowledge that I don’t have, and help from my husband. (He is the best!!!) We managed to load up both, and successfully wiped out my WordPress blog in the process. Luckily, he figured out how to fix it when I discovered it the next day. Unfortunately right now I don’t have the time to learn to code. Maybe over the summer!

So while the “change over time” angle might work for any area, and I might explore this option some more, I still struggled with the issue of so what? What does this have to do with a crowd sourced database of cemetery information? Who will care? In asking these questions and thinking about Findagrave, which does a little of what I am hoping to do with my project, I thought about relationships. Relationships are at the heart of Findagrave–both the relationships of the deceased AND the relationships of the people making the memorials on Findagrave. Findagrave links people to their spouses and children, and recently added the ability to see someone’s siblings on their page. Since the relationships seem to always get people in a tizzy, I think being able to map relationships would be a good visualization. I went back to my original blog of March 13, 2014 (see link above) and decided I would give NodeXL a try again. This time I figured out how to use it properly!  See my blog from this morning. I think I am on the right track.

I tried to use Manyeyes from IBM to see what their network relationship analysis looked like, but every time I’ve tried (this is the second time) it won’t load Java and says the site is insecure. Even when I ignore that, it still won’t load anything. It’s too frustrating and I don’t even know if it’s going to look any better than what NodeXL does.

Essentially my final draft is a combination of traditional mapping and relationship network analyses. I chose to focus on just two cemeteries, the Shaffer and Zerkle cemeteries, only because as you will see, NodeXL will not work with anything much larger, and even though these two cemeteries have under 30 burials, there are over twice that in relationships mapped out, making them almost unreadable. I really need a program that will allow me to show multiple cemeteries and the relationships between them.  Part Two will go into more detail and show you the visualizations.
 
 

Cemetery Visualization Test #2

Mar 29th, 2014 Posted in Public History | no comment »

I’ve been playing around with NodeXL and trying to see what would work the best. (See here for test #1)

So this time I thought I would try to show the relationships between the people buried in two cemeteries, Shaffer and Zerkle, in Mad River township, Champaign county, OH. If that worked, I could continue to add cemeteries until I had the whole township’s relationships plotted. I started with the Shaffer cemetery database I created.

Four issues occurred:
1) I first realized that in order to relate this to the much larger project (that being a cemetery database and website that I am currently formulating and just have ideas about so can’t share much yet), I needed to use the information (names and relationships) solely from Findagrave.com and not any of the other resources I had used to compile my list. It had to be the crowd-sourced information.  So that is what I used.
(2) I realized I could not be true to the actual name as it is spelled on each headstone, otherwise the information wouldn’t graph properly. So I had to standardize a little. (For example, Abraham Zerkel is spelled that way on his headstone, but his wife Margaret’s stone says she is wife of Abraham Zirkle. If I showed their relationship that way, the program would think I had two different Abrahams.) I also had to change some surname spellings due to duplicates. Jacob, Jonathan, and Michael all had same surname spellings for multiple different people. I did the best I could but I had to make sure the relationships graphed properly.
(3) I saved it as a TIFF file and used Paint to add the legend and a title. I learned that you cannot upload a TIFF file to WordPress. Frustrating! I had to convert it to JPEG so I didn’t have to re-do the legend that I made.
(4) And lastly, as you can see I only graphed the Shaffer cemetery. Why? Because if I did more than one, you’d never be able to read it. You can barely read this graph as it is! NodeXL is kind of frustrating in that I can’t share this on the web so that it is interactive. I had to save it as a Tiff file and post it here. Looking at it in NodeXL itself I can click on each node and it will highlight the relationship line so that you can see just everyone that person is related to. But even that on the tiny laptop screen was hard to see, so I know I need to make some small tweaks to this but I can barely see it. I already noticed that at first I had some duplicated names and I couldn’t figure out why (George Stange Jr was there twice – why? because in one field I’d put in George Stange Jr. and the other was George Stange Jr — details!!!)
Shaffer Cemetery NodeXL

So although I am scrapping this idea, I did learn a couple of things that are relevant to my genealogy research, though perhaps not this project.

On to test number three…which I hope is the last! Please comment if you have any suggestions or anything you’d like to add.

New Graph (Cemetery visualization test #1)

Feb 25th, 2014 Posted in Public History | no comment »

I spent the day making a database of everyone buried in the Shaffer cemetery. Yay! So I have part of part one done. 1 cemetery, 3 different archives of who’s buried there. I imported it into NodeXL and made a chart. No idea what this is telling me, but I’ll get there. I can see that I want it to tell me something!

Graph test