Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mashing up NCBI and Wikipedia using treemaps

Having made a first stab at mapping NCBI taxa to Wikipedia, I thought it might be fun to see what could be done with it. I've always wanted to get quantum treemaps working (quantum treemaps ensure that the cells in the treemap are all the same size, see my 2006[!] blog post for further description and links). After some fussing I have some code that seems to do the trick. As an example, here is a quantum treemap for Laurasiatheria.

The diagram shows the NCBI taxonomy subtree rooted on Laurasiatheria, with images (where available) from Wikipedia for the children of the the children of that node. In other words, the images correspond to the tips of the tree below:


There's a lot to be done to tidy this up, but there is potential to create a nice, visual way to navigate through the NCBI taxonomy (it might work well on the iPhone or iPad, for example).