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Archive for November, 2011

OrgPedia Board Members Network

November 29, 2011 2 comments

The Final Visualization

I recently worked with Bharath Santosh to help Xian Li with a demo of the OrgPedia organizational transparency site. The project involved creating an interactive graph visualization of connections between members of corporate boards (the final product can be found here). Given a list of a few hundred stock tickers and access to the LittleSis API, the goal was to ultimately produce a JSON file of board members that could be use by the D3.js force-directed graph framework. I started by looking up each ticker symbol, yielding a JSON file with a unique ID number for each company. My script then queried the API for actual company page associated with that ID and stored the names, company associations, and URIs of each board member. Finally, a JSON file for the D3.js graph was output describing the ~2800 board members and the links between each of them.

While I had used Python a bit for command line scripting, I hadn’t really dug into it before this project. The work gave me a better taste for the language and its capabilities. I made extensive use of the “urllib” library for accessing web content, and worked with opening up the data in JSON files. Bharath helped me with the syntax of program and some of the graph construction. While I was aware of Python’s reputation for ease of use and high level abstraction, working with it let me experience this abstraction first hand, I was very impressed. The ease with which complex multistep operations could be completed let me focus more on the flow of the data through the process rather than the specifics of handling it. The project also gave me a bit more hands on experience with JSON.

Bharath has a blog post up here detailing some of what he did on the visualization side. And be sure to check out the final visualization at http://tw.rpi.edu/orgpedia/node/80756.

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