# Visualizing Timed Paths,  aka The Bus Schedule Problem

Due:  Thurs March 1, in class.

The goal of this homework is to gain practice in designing new visualizations for new problems by rapid brainstorming and sketching.  Your assignment is to produce a design for a visualization of timed paths.  The research literature is remarkably silent on this particular problem.

The data:  The general problem is as follows.  There are a number of objects moving in space.  The spatial path and timing schedule for the movement of each object is known.  An example of this problem is a bus route schedule for several buses.  Circular routes may repeat many times, possibly with variations in the exact route and schedule.  You should assume several moving objects (those of you up to a challenge should consider the case of very many moving objects).  You may assume movement in 2D space if you like, but no less than 2D.

The tasks:  Your visualization should help users understand the routes and schedules and interplay between objects.  Typical questions might include:

• when will object x be at location y?
• where will object x be at time t?
• where is the nearest object at time t?
• do 2 objects intercept?  (e.g. will they crash?)
• do 2 objects' paths intersect?  (e.g. they cross but not at the same time, so don't crash)
• how can I get from point A to point B with these buses?  will I have to take more than 1 bus?  where will I change buses?  how long will my "lay-over" wait be?  when should I catch the first bus?
• what will the effects be if I change a route or schedule?  (e.g. I am the bus manager)

What to hand in:  About 2 pages describing your proposed solution visualization as follows:

• 1 page of pictures.  These can be hand-drawn with pencil and paper.  The intent here is low-fidelity rapid prototyping, not development.
• 1 page of description.  This should be typed.  Include:
• Describe the pictures and interaction as needed.
• Describe how far your solution scales up (how many objects, how much time).