Visualise your data assets with Constellation Roamer
Searching through pages of textual information trying to find connections and relationships between information items is time consuming and not very intuitive. Being able to visualise information and explore links can speed up the process and often lead to interesting concepts being brought to light – it’s also way more interesting than lists.
It was whilst searching the internet looking for a technique to measure the distance between the centre of an object and the edge (in Flash) that I discovered a handy program for visualising information. Here we have the Constellation Framework and Constellation Roamer, from Asterisq Innovation, applications which offer a library and tool for visually exploring your data assets.
Constellation Roamer is described as a graphical data visualisation tool for the web and the best way of understanding what it really does is to take a look at the visualisation demo. As you explore the nodes in the Constellation Roamer they automagically rearrange in a smooth animation helping you keep sense of what is happening as you centre your analysis around particular nodes.
Constellation Roamer runs in Flash (and can be embedded on a HTML web page) and can be customised to suit a specific purpose including assigning a unique shape (for example a circle, diamond, pentagon, or even a custom shape) and colours to each node. You can also point each node to a URL and specify a label and tooltip. Data is loaded from an XML file, or REST-like interface, as and when needed.
For the Constellation Roamer product there is a one-off license for a fixed domain name (includes free minor version upgrades) and for what it offers this price seems quite reasonable, though I would have liked to have seen something like a 30-day trial download so we can ensure it meets our needs.
I could see it being handy for mapping relationships between nodes on our network infrastructure.
The Framework version of Constellation is also available offering a library for use by Flash and Flex developers to help them build Constellation functionality into their own applications. A number of custom applications built using the Constellation Framework are show-cased on the visualisation gallery section which offer a glimpse into the functionality on offer.
A number of licensing options are available for the Framework edition including single-domain licensing and unlimited licensing. Detailed documentation and a number of Tutorials for the library is also available online.
Looking through the Asterisq Blog I can see Constellation is being updated regularly, the current Constellation Framework is version 0.2 whereas Constellation Roamer is currently on version 1.2.5 which has added zooming controls amongst other features and bug fixes.