Category Archives: High values cargoes’ networks (2014/S2)

High Value Cargo Networks: Progress Blog Post 3

Data Source

The new data we collect are a research paper about slave, a website about silk route map, and a website about a chronology of silk route. The research paper was written by Mrs. Sally McKee, who mentioned the data source of two thousand slave slaves were gathered from the State Archives of Venice between 1360-1499. These data were shown in tables with respect to “Number of Slave Sale Contracts by City,” “Number of Slave Sale Contracts by Decade,” “Origins of Slave Sold,” “Average Age of Slaves by Gender,” and “Average Price of Female and Male Slaves in Sale Contracts by Decade.” For such scarce data, this research paper is quite a good help.

Comparing to the data size of slave sales we can gather, silk is easier to find. Two websites are the new data source. The first website is mainly a map and history. From the map, we can construct the route in our website as shown in Figure 2. The most difficult part relies on the data storage which is presented in the next paragraph. The other website is talking about the chronology of silk route, which we can adopt some historical events corresponding to the time period the users choose. The two websites seem to have many valuable data about silk, however, there is no detail descriptions about the mapping of the routes and its corresponding time period.

Data Storing and updating

We use JSON to store and organize our routing data.City and routing information is stored as follows:


Figure 1.  Sample Json File Storing Cities and Routes

Our last task will be to write a PHP script to translate user input to JSON format, update the back-end JSON file, and then finally refresh the display.

Data Visualization

As we mentioned in the last blogpost, we use d3.js and topo.json to construct every element in our data visualization. Our current real time demo javascript webpage contains 4 blocks: (1) a slider of time, which is used to control the year to display the historical event and the network (2) a dynamic historical event displayer (3) a projected map with high value cargo networks (4) buttons for cargo selection. We have met our milestone. These components all interact with each other consistently and smoothly. We have now completed the major part of our visualization. Our next steps will focus on improving aesthetics and user-friendliness, such as: (1) Colorful map background of real landscape. (2) Make the map zoomable. (3) Differentiate cities of different cargos with colors and marks. (4) Improving type setting and re-organizing blocks (5) Dynamic charts for displaying quantitative information of cargos, such as trading quantities and prices.

Figure 2. Snapshot of Data Visualization with d3.js and topo.json


Basically, we achieve the milestones which were set in the beginning of the project. Although, there are some discrepancy between the result and the original project proposal because of the scarcity of silk and slave sales. We still do our best to gather some useful information that can aid the users to realize the route of silk and slave sales as thorough as possible.

References and Resources