Looking For Some Big Data?

    Whether you remember seeing Dr. Fiorella Terenzi’s photo on the cover of Mondo back when you were a kid and pestered your mom and dad for a copy of Music from the Galaxies back in the day, or had run across Bob L. Sturm’s pioneering sonificaton of deep ocean buoys off the coast of California (What? You never heard of it? Here’s a short paper on it, and maybe find a copy of the multimedia CD with audio and the papers kicking around. He’s got some interesting de Broglie wave sonifications, too), or - more recently, Natasha Barrett’s collaborative work with Karen Mair on the sonification of the earth’s crust, it’s hard to imagine that you didn’t finish Ginger’s piece on Traffic sonification last week and start thinking again about how much fun it might be to tangle with some big data of your own.
    Or... maybe you periodically troll the International Community for Auditory Display's archive of online Proceedings at Georgia Tech on your downtime for inspiration or leaf longingly through Luke DuBois’ awesome “mapping is everything” dissertation and dream of transcoding schemes of your own.
    You know who you are. I'm talking to you.
    But here’s the rub - what if you’re not enjoying a refreshing Last Word out on the terrazzo with your oceanographer besties or rubbing elbows with oceanographers or geneticists on a regular basis?
    Fear not – I’ve got a present for you: a pointer to a Wunderkammer of your own - a big juicy collection of links to large public datasets you can access, peruse, and contemplate transcoding on your own.
    Genomes. Weather. Economic Indicators.... If you can't imagine some Max projects here, I'll be surprised. My colleague and pal Ginger thinks you ought to consider constructing some wind chimes based on the data correlation between murder rates and Internet Explorer. My advice? Remember that, while spurious data correlations may be good for a laugh, the best sonifications thrive beneath the light of the notion that correlation doesn't imply causation.
    So polish off your coll and SQLite and dictionary Max skills. And remember the Forum is your pal when it comes to discussions and advice extracting data from those datasets - everything from splitting tab-separated textfiles to importing data from Excel spreadsheets or moving data to or from MATLAB. When you think of it, the Forum is big data, too.
    You’re welcome. Keep in touch!

    • Nov 28 2015 | 8:13 pm
      Amazing. I'm coming up to a lecture on "big data" and needed to find some stuff to use, and along comes this article by Gregory. Talk about yer good timing! Thanks, Gregory.
      PS: For those interested, the syllabus for the class is here:
      and the 'big data' link is about to go up.
    • Nov 28 2015 | 8:36 pm
      Thanks for this encouraging article! I have a Fiorella Terenzi cd, as a matter of fact. And... I recently interviewed radio astronomer Joeri van Leeuwen who presented some ueber cool sonifications during the interview!
    • Dec 16 2015 | 9:16 pm
      Message for Gregory Taylor in response to the big data sets post, would it be possible to do a few examples similar to the ones like connecting guitars that show how you can sonify datasets, and what you can do with them so I can follow along? If so, that would be great.