Representing controversies

Representing your controversy

Finding inspiration

Finding convincing representations for complex phenomena (such as controversies) is often a question of aesthetical sensibility much more than of technical equipment. To find inspiration for your cartographic campaigns, check out the websites that gather and discuss leading edge visualisation experiments:

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Illustrating your controversy

Controversy on science and technology are often difficult to represent because of the specialized jargon used by their protagonist. Luckily, the Web is a multimedia rich environment that make easy to find resources to illustrate the glossary of controversial issues.

Images

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Audio

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Video

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A couple of website also exist that gather scientific and technological videos exclusively:

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Designing mind maps

Mind maps are one of the most ancient, widespread and flexible way to represent issues. By representing elements and the connections between them, mind maps allows you to visualise the position of the actors of your controversy, their relative importance, their relations, their composition and much more. Mind maps can be draw with any image editor, but tools exists that allows designing interactive mind maps which nodes can be expanded or reduced by users:

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Designing charts

If you happen to have or find spreadsheet data on your controversy, several web services will help you in generating different types of charts. Some of these services also offer the possibility to share or search the data about issues:

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Others only offer charting resources:

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Designing geographical maps

If you controversy has a geographical dimension, several simplified web-based GIS are today available to help you in visualising your geographical data:

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Or you can use a full-featured desktop GIS

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Designing timelines

Real controversies are always extremely dynamic. To represent the milestones events of your controversy, several timeline tools are available on the web such as:

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Visualising web connections

The Web itself (meaning the overall hypertext of http-pages and websites) can be analysed to show the dynamics of a controversy and the distribution of its actors.

Visualising search engine queries

The easiest approach is to use some of the may available tools that have been developed to visualise the results of search engine queries:

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Visualising hyperlinks

A different and more difficult approach is to follow (automatically or manually) the hyperlinks that connect different websites and trace the map of any given region of the web:

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Visualising web behaviours

Finally, tools are available to visualise the behaviour of user of specific web tools:

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Visualising Wikipedia

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Representing texts

The easiest and most available way to represent a text is through a word-cloud showing in a glance which words occur most often in the text. Though not a very subtle strategy, it works amazingly well:

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Creating presentations

Slide presentations are one of the straightes and most popular way to express ideas. Now tools are available to create and share such presentation onlinehttp://www.slideshare.net/:

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Articulating debates

In the last few years tools have been developed specifically with the aim of articulating and manage online debates. You may want to check them out to see if someone is already discussing on your controversy or to open a new discussion:

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Designing graphs

Controversies often involve a large number of actors and a even larger number of connections. It may be social networks data or web cartography data, but you may have to handle large networks of knots and connections in order to visualise positions and clusters. Several applications have been develop to help you in exploring and manipulating your graphs:

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Developing original visualisations

If you have some developing experience, you can experiment yourself in developing some original visualisations. Here you can find some visualisation suites that can help you in creating new representation to visualise your data:

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Feeding your cartography

Let the web work for you, using some of the many tools to create and embed rss and other feeders in your cartographic site:

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