Final Project #2 – About Give Me My Data and Neo4j

Having explored a few different software for data visualisation (described in post #1), finally I came across two tools that combined enabled me to work on my final project.

Give Me My Data

The first one of them, Give Me My Data, helps to reclaim and reuse Facebook data. Connected to Facebook account, it enables users to download a specific set of data (e.g. connections or photos) in a chosen format (e.g. CSV, HML or JSON).

Here are examples of different ways of visualising that data published by Owen Mundy, who developed the software:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 17.11.53


Unfortunately, extracted data isn’t enough to create a stunning visualisation. I kept looking for more advanced software for data visualisation, and finally I came across a tutorial that explained how to create an interactive map of Facebook network with the use of Give Me My Data and Neo4j.

Only now do I know that following tutorial does not equal an easy job… What was meant to take exactly 8 minutes and 18 seconds, turned out to take DAYS (weeks in total).


Neo4j is an open-source graph database, implemented in Java. In short, it helps with visualising and exploring data through interactive graphs.

Being inspired by a blog post “FUN with FACEBOOK in NEO4J”, I have decided to go ahead, follow the tutorial (also a video tutorial) and create my own interactive Facebook network, that was meant to look like that:


(photo take from the tutorial, link above)


As I have found out rather quickly, uploading data into Neo4j WAS NOT easy at all, and required actual programming skills that I didn’t have. Have I known that in the beginning, probably I would have abandoned the idea in the very beginning and focus my final project on something I could actually understand.

Yet before I had realised that the task wouldn’t take 8 minutes, I put so much effort in trying, that I knew I had no choice, but to go ahead.



In my next blog post I’ll explain why instructions from the tutorial were wrong, and how it took me days to figure out the “right way” of doing things. I’ll try to re-create what I’ve learnt and done, and create my own updated tutorial for newbies like myself.



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