At the outset of this project, I set for myself the following two goals:
1) To learn D3.js well enough so that I was comfortable manipulating and visualizing data, as well as working with D3’s various functions and its unique syntactical quirks (such as method chaining).
2) To create a visualization that tells a story of Laos and the horrific plight of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left behind since the early 1970s, a result of the CIA’s covert bombing campaign in the country, concomitant with the Vietnam War.
The first task, I am fairly certain I accomplished. With the help of two books, an online lecture course, an online library of D3 works (replete, occasionally, with commentary and example code), and various online forums and communities, I’m now comfortable visualizing data with D3.
The process of fulfilling my second task—and the variety of obstacles I encountered over the course of this process—is essentially the story of my work on this project. (This story … below)
(sketching ways of representing the immensity of the military … one of the most compelling figures .. that the .. of munitions U.S. forces deployed in Laos was greater than that .. in Germany and Japan combined in WWII. Side-by-side .. of Germany and Japan, alongside Laos, … but something of this nature could easily be rendered in Illustrator or Photoshop, and was not reliant on data. I also .. sketching .. scatterplot (link to wiki), cartogram (link to wiki), or some kind of interactive maps of payload vs population (given Laos’ small country and the military force .. almost incredulously excessive) .. here is where I the difficulty that would define my .. of the project: the sheer messiness of the data. and, in …, the .. that it was plainly inexistent in any useful or .. form.
Data visualization without data. But D3 .. …. the data function, or “data()” …, at the very heart …
As I progressed through the research stages of the project, reading several books on the topic of Laos and UXO (and corresponding with a veteran researcher and writer on the topic), it became clearer that this project would be impossible to accomplish in the form I had originally intended it.