Live Singapore: Real Time Talk

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Singapore's mobile phone penetration is above 140%, many own more than one device. How do we make use of the island's cellphone network via voice calls and text messages? How can this inform us about the usage of urban space in real-time? Find out by looking at this map, where height and color intensity indicate the level of cellphone network usage.

My role on the project was in designing the visual aesthetic and programming the visualization, while working closely with Oliver Senn who was in charge of data processing of SingTel's CDR records. The visualization took many forms, from the "flying pixels" representation of square indicators floating upward in Z-space, to columns colored based on their relative intensity of activity, to a mesh polygonal network connecting the cell phone activity in a mountainous form. The ultimate visualization technique was a combination of styles, coloring the top surface of the columns in a linear fashion based on the most active area of that interval, while the column itself is a gradient of white to transparent in order to lead the eye back down to the map in the area from which it came. The height is a logarithmic representation of activity, so as to maintain representation of the activity across the island, while the most active areas are highlighted through their hue.

The project is part of an exhibition featured at the Singapore Art Museum from April 7th to May 1st, 2011, as well as the Marina Bay City Gallery from April 14th to May 14th, 2011. The project was developed by the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory in conjunction with the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.