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My visualization software

I was pretty soon sure, that I wanted to do something like the job voyager but for medals given at olympic games by country. At all olympic games (and of course during these winter olympic game) I closely follow the change of the medal table and how Germany is doing. However, the medal table can be confusing because it gets really big and long. It would be nice to be able to see how the countries evolved over the past years, compare by type of medal, see how two countries compare to each other and also compare for different type of sports (athletics vs. swimming vs. gymnastics).

My framework will allow the user to browse through the data like in the job/name voyager and see how a countries performance has changed over time.


I want to realize the software more or less like the name or job voyager. What I like about that design is that the user can judge how many medals were given out in total, how the countries compare to each other and the user has the possibility "zoom in" on a particular country.


The user can choose between displaying all medals, or just gold, silver or bronze. He should also be able to compare 2 or more specific countries by typing like "Germany || United States". I also want to add the possibility to select different types of sports like "downhill skiing" to enable sport specific comparisons.

I would also like to possibly bring in some more information, like color coding the different countries by "medals won/population" or "medals won/money invested in sport" to give the medal table another perspective.

The enviroment

I decided to use flare, where you can also download the source code for the job voyager. Since I have never worked with flare or flash/flex... before, I thought it would be useful to have some code to stick by. All other tools that I am somewhat familiar with (Matlab, C/C++ and OpenGL) wouldn't have allowed me to (easily) build my application.

For this application, I downloaded the source code for the flare sample applications. Starting from the Job Voyager I modified the source code in such a way that it can be used with my data.

The data

You would think that it shouldn't be too hard to find a list of athletes who won which medal in the olympic games in which year in which sport. On www.olympic.org, the official olympic website, you can search their database, but you do not get access to the whole thing. I ended up pulling off the medal tables for each olympic games from wikipeia, copying them into an excel sheet and then exporting that as a .csv file which can be read by the flash.


Time spent on this project

Coming up with an appropriate idea came pretty quickly, I did about an hour or two of brainstorming before coming up with the Olympic Voyager. Then I have spent a good amount of time gathering the data (at least 5 hours first searching for data and then building up the excel sheet, then I spent a good amount of time installing the required software and working my way through the tutorial, trying to build the JobVoyager in Adobe Flex Builder and finally trying to unsterstand where I need to make changes so that the JobVoyager will work for my data. I spent more time reading through the documentation, finding out how things work than actually programming.

All in all, I spent about 15 hours on this homework assignment.

The final Application

Unfortunately, the final programm did not turn out as well as I hoped it would. I couldn't do comparison for different sports, because I couldn't find my data available in the way that I would have needed it and it would have required a lot of tedious data management. Also I though it would be a lot more interesting to explore the data, but it is not as interesting as for example with the job voyager. I would have needed a lot more time to make it nicer and the way I planned to do it.



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