I just posted this in the PHP forums, but in retrospect, I think I probably should have posted it here, so sorry for the double post.

Well guys. This is going to be a tough question I have a feeling, since I don't think this is what PHP is made for. But since I don't know how to use flash, and don't really want to take the time to learn, here goes nothin'. All creative ideas welcome.

What I'm trying to do: Basically, I have a mysql database with data in it on certain entities, and a formula to take that data and relate the entities to how similar or different they are. What I would like to learn how to do is display that information visually, in a way similar to http://www.liveplasma.com (go to liveplasma, type in "taking back sunday" and click on the artist/band button for an example). It obviously doesn't need to have the fading effects or be as smooth/flowing, but I would somehow like to generate a sequence of dots in relative positions to one another based on my algorithms and data, and be able to move around the "map," probably using ajax (like how mapquest/google maps does it with its maps?)

Any and all ideas welcome. I'm not entirely sure where to begin.