Innovations in Visualization

Available Summer Projects in Innovis and DataXExperience

Prof. Wesley Willett and Prof. Sheelagh Carpendale are looking for excellent and motivated undergraduate or graduate students who wish to conduct exciting research in Spring and Summer 2017 in the areas of information visualization, design and human-computer interaction.

These summer research projects are conducted within the framework of an ongoing research project with the National Energy Board of Canada in designing information visualizations to share information about topics such as energy data, pipeline safety, and energy infrastructure. The overall goal is to meaningfully engage Canadians and support an informed energy dialogue through the use of interactive visualizations.

You will work closely together with the research team and the stakeholders in the Interactions Lab (Math Sciences 680). Your role will be to translate visualization designs that the team creates into working and interactive prototypes, iterate on existing designs. Research challenges for this project include: visualizing missing/incomplete data, visualizing reasons for data gaps (e.g., updated legislation, data collection), creating a unified visualization that ties different perspectives on the data together in a coherent and unbiased way, building interactive legends, and many more.

This project requires good to excellent programming skills, the ability to think outside the box, be creative and work well in a team. Experience with visualization toolkits and frameworks (e.g., d3.js, Vega) are an important advantage.

Possible summer research topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Designing and developing location-based games based on National Energy Board data
  • Designing educational games about Canadian energy data for schools
  • Creating/designing prototype interactive visualizations of subsets of National Energy Board data
  • Scripting and data wrangling
  • Assisting with qualitative studies (interviewing stakeholders, transcribing and analyzing data)
  • Developing a prototype tool for spatially analyzing qualitative data on large displays

Please note that summer research students are not responsible for all topics listed above.

We are also looking for two students to join our visual design team for the summer. Working collaboratively with the lead designer and the rest of the team, your research challenges will be to create and iterate on visualization designs that present data from the National Energy board in an effective and unbiased way. Projects will vary and be related to topics listed below. Successful candidates should demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a team environment, be creative and be able to work with constructive criticism. Experience with Adobe Illustrator and sketching and drawing by hand are required. Experience with data visualization toolkits is an advantage but not necessary.

If you are interested in this project, please contact:
Prof. Wesley Willett (wesley.willett @,
Prof. Sheelagh Carpendale (sheelagh @,
Post-Doctoral researcher Jo Vermeulen (jo.vermeulen @
Post-Doctoral researcher Søren Knudsen (sknudsen @,
Design research fellow Lindsay MacDonald (macdonla @