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New Images from Greg Niemeyer’s Research Trip to Barrow!

Drone above #permafrost in Barrow, AK #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

BCNM awarded $5,000 to Greg Niemeyer to create radial visualizations of the internet from the inside out. It was part of faculty research grants to seed ambitious academic projects in the field. Niemeyer is now on sabbatical to pursue his research.

Pallet Party, Barrow AK #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Niemeyer is planning two scenarios – “Barrow” will immerse viewers in the process of permafrost thawing in Barrow, Alaska. We’re expecting this data to carry about 10000 nodes. It will show the relentless and surprisingly complex process of permafrost thawing from a frozen state which lasted many thousand years as studied by Dr. Margaret Torn and her research team.

Some of those photos have just been released!

#Inupiat boat without skin, Barrow AK #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Arctic willow in #permafrost Barrow AK #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Niemeyer proposed to invent tools which distribute the benefits of data analysis as broadly as possible. To instead of making a flat map of an n-dimensional thing, he’s chose to look at a network from its own perspective, from the inside out. Instead of a flat map, he proposes a radial map. Recent advances in immersive VR bring this approach within reach of smartphone users. The accessibility of large datasets with thousands of nodes is a critical step in the process of data democratization.

The research plan is to create such dynamic network visualizations in Unity3D, and to test them for experience value and legibility in user studies. Feedback from user studies will hammer out issues in dynamic network visualization until Niemeyer identify core principles of the immersive experience that can scale from a deck of playing cards (52 nodes) to the size of millions of nodes.

Barrow #NOAA station, Barrow, AK #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

We look forward to more from Niemeyer, and all of our grant recipients.

Keep up with Niemeyer on Twitter here.

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