Tag Galaxy

I came across this tagging visualisation project Tag Galaxy on the flowingdata blog. It is the 2008 thesis project of Steven Wood. I love this idea and have really enjoyed playing about with it. You enter a tag, I started with beach (i’m not at all completely focussed on my upcoming holiday), then you are presented with a solar system, with your tag being the sun, and co-occurring tags represented by planets orbiting the main tag sun. Clicking on a planet (related tag) gives a new visualisation this time for a refined search with the two tags. The more tags assigned to the central sun, the more specific the search results. This is an excellent feature as it utilises the capability of filtering results and finding a photo that accurately matches what you want to see. Here is a visualisation I created from the tag beach.

tag galaxy screengrab

Clicking on the sun takes you to a new visualisation showing images tagged with your tag combination.

tag galaxy screengrab

Then if you click on an image it enlarges the image and provides a link to the flickr profile.

tag galaxy screengrab

The planets appear to be clustered but I’m not sure by what metric, at first look it seems by semantics, but either it isn’t accurate, or distribution is random. Another subtle aspect that is more apparent when looking at a solar system for a sun of multiple tags is that the planets’ sizes vary depending on the amount of photos labelled with that tag. I think an improvement would be to exaggerate this feature slightly so it was more obvious on single tag visualisations.

It has a nice touch of being able to be full screen too, a useful feature when zooming in and out of your solar system and making it spin around – which provides hours of fun on its own!

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