this project aims to be a free, flexible,
and easily modifiable visualisation tool that allows a user to
intuitively understand their online social group structure.
projects that this software have been based on are social
network fragments and buddy graph -- this code
has all the functionality from its counterparts (except zoom)
that could be implemented in a generic fashion. for example,
colouring is not in this software as currently it is
impossible to colour the graph without asking the user to
classify his or her entire mail network manually; it is too
hard to do automatic classification and colouring of e-mail
addresses to include it in this version. it should be noted
that this entire field of "who knows who" visualisations are
not useful for anything except as a curiosity. the images
produces from this program as well as the other similar ones
are not useful as any real metric of who knows who.
in the above example, the user's mailbox
scanned has been relaxed into about 10 different social
groups. by looking at To:, From:, and Cc: headers, this tool
constructs a graph of who knows who. each "star"
represents a person, and each "constellation line"
draws out the relationship.
this code falls under the gpl, so feel
free to download the
source or try one of the prepackaged
releases. more detailed project information can be found
on the project
page hosted by sourceforge. the code
is easy to compile and use. grab the source and with ant you can run
ant dist to spit out a jar file that you can run as
follows: java -jar econstellation.jar -s [imap server] -u
[username] -p [mail password]. this will scan your
current imap mailbox (and it should recurse through the mail
directories) and construct a visual map (it will take a few
hours for the picture to relax to anything coherent, the code
has been written to be multithreaded, so a SMP machine will be
faster than a single processor machine). the -i flag
also allows you to "collapse" your e-mail addresses together;
if you have more than one e-mail address, you can tell the
visualiser to treat them are all the same by listing them all
with -i flags on the command line. for more
information, contact r.
future development directions include some
sort of automatic coloration method, a "zoom"
feature, the ability to interrogate the graph for more
information about the stars, and possibly a way to interact by
taking a star and moving it to manually aid the relaxation of
the graph. a faster relaxation engine could be useful too,
however the one being used is a fairly speedy one using a
spatial gridder that does a "gross" but visually