Transforming Big Data into Knowledge: Experimental Techniques in Dynamic Visualization

Project Date
2011 - 2012
Thesis Advisor
Prof. Eran Ben-Joseph
Professor of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, MIT
Thesis Reader
Prof. P. Christopher Zegras
Associate Professor of Transportation Planning, MIT

Information visualizations, especially those utilizing web-based platforms, are becoming an increasingly common medium for exchanging ideas. This emergent class of tools enabling web-based, interactive platforms for visualizing data should be considered by urban planners and designers as an opportunity to create new modes of disseminating and communicating information.

This thesis provides an overview of new visualization tools: how they are being developed and combined, their applications, and their potential future uses. It also explores the implications of such tools in contexts where technology is not yet mainstream. This is illustrated through a case study of using mobile phones to gather data on the bus system in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The research draws from literature written on critical cartography, visualization, and visual culture in urban design and planning. The work first develops a best practices workflow of existing and emerging visualization tools and platforms. It then constructs prototypes of products for various audiences that illustrate the outputs of data collected on Dhaka’s bus system, showcasing the potentials of these new tools and platforms.

See thesis on MIT’s DSpace thesis repository

Selected Exhibits

2.0.1 A Chronology of Shifting Perspectives

... ...

4.1.1 “A Minute in Dhaka” Videos


0.6.1 Structure of Thesis


2.4.1 Mobile Cellular Subscriptions