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Data Visualization using inDEED

by Rachelle Howell, George A. Howlett



Data Visualization with inDEED

This page describes how data visualization using the inDEED tool works. This page is aimed at helping researchers who are creating interactive data files understand how the inDEED tool and the Specimen Authoring Tool are used together to map and display data files.









In order for a data file to be opened by inDEED, it must have an associated mapping file.
The inDEED tool uses mapping files (*.ind files, also called inDEED files) to display data files. The mapping file is created via the Specimen Authoring Tool, and it contains information about the sensor names, types, measurement units, locations, and groupings. You can think of the mapping file as a form of communication between the researcher who created the data and the end user who is visualizing the data.

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A mapping file is associated with a specified set of sensors.
An inDEED file mapping contains a set of sensors that are specified during the mapping process. The inDEED mapping file can be used to view any file that contains these sensors.



  • If you have multiple data files that all contain the same set of sensors, one mapping file will work for all of these data files.



  • If you have two (or more) data files with disparate sets of sensors, you have two options:
    1. You can create a separate mapping for each file. (recommended for new users)
    2. You can create a combined mapping file that contains both (or all) sets of sensors. If you have one mapping file that contains sensors from multiple files, you should be aware of the fact that inDEED will not automatically load these data files together. Please see this tutorial for more information.



  • A mapping that pertains to a specified set of sensors cannot be used to view a file that contains a different set of sensors.












The mapping file can be placed at the Experiment, Trial, or Repetition level in the Project Warehouse.

If you have created inDEED mapping files, you need to upload these files into the Project Warehouse with your data files. You also need to set the associated tool flag for the data files to inDEED (see this tutorial). You can place the mapping file in three different locations:

  • Repetition-level data folder – If you upload the mapping file into the data folder, it will not be accessible for use with any data files other than those located in that same folder.
  • Repetition-level documentation folder – If you have multiple data files in the same format spread across more than one data folder for a single repetition, you only need one mapping file. By placing the mapping file in the repetition-level documentation folder, it is accessible for use with all data files in that repetition.
  • Trial-level documentation folder – If you have multiple repetitions and the data files for those repetitions are in the same format and contain the same sensors, you only need one mapping file. By placing the mapping file in the trial-level documentation folder, it is accessible for use with all data files in that trial.
  • Experiment-level documentation folder – If you have multiple trials and the data files for those trials are in the same format and contain the same sensors, you only need one mapping file. By placing the mapping file in the experiment-level documentation folder, it is accessible for use with all data files in that experiment.
  • Project-level documentation folder – If you have multiple experiments and the data files for those experiments are in the same format and contain the same sensors, you only need one mapping file. By placing the mapping file in the project-level documentation folder, it is accessible for use with all data files in that project.


When the inDEED tool is launched on a data file in the Project Warehouse, the inDEED tool will search for a *.ind mapping file in the following locations and in the following order:

.  Current directory (Converted_Data, Corrected_Data, etc.)
../Documentation           Rep level documentation folder
../../Documentation        Trial level documentation folder
../../../Documentation     Exp level documentation folder
../../../../Documentation  Project level documentation folder


The first *.ind file that the inDEED tool encounters, is the *.ind file that will be used for that data file. Thus, if you have a *.ind file at the experiment level, it will override any *.ind file that you have at the project level for the data files in that experiment.


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How does inDEED know which mapping file to use?
If for some reason you have multiple data files and multiple inDEED mappings in the same folder, you may be wondering how inDEED chooses which mapping file to use when opening a data file. You can use an index file to associate inDEED mapping files to their corresponding data files. Instructions on how to create and use an index file can be found in this tutorial.



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