It's been done, is this worth my time and effort?

I’m a graphic / interaction design student, and I’m in somewhat of a predicament with my latest, and biggest project. I’m attempting to design some sort of data visualization for US satellites in Earth orbit (that have been launched within the past decade), using the data available from the internet. Within this visualization I’m including the size and angle of each satellite’s orbit (apogee, perigee, degrees), it’s name, function, and date of launch. Right now, it is in the form of a massive, very complicated info-graphic.

My problem is that this visualization would definitely be better of interactive, because of the complexity and sheer vastness in quantity and scale of the information. But there are already existing interfaces that have shown what I’d like to show much better than I can possibly do on my own, in particular Google Earth’s installable satellite plugin, Wolfram Alpha, and an iPhone app called SkyView. There are probably more. The only thing that my visualization has to offer that these others don’t is a side-by-side comparison of these satellites and their orbits in a chronological timeline (which possibly reveal narratives such as economic / political priorities during certain periods in terms of science, military, communication etc)

My question is, should I be spending all this time and effort creating something that offers nothing substantial that’s already available to the masses? Can this not really offer anything “new” but still be somehow beneficial beyond my portfolio? How do you all cope with the idea that what you’re doing has already been done as best as it could?

The majority of everything has already been done. Make it your own, use the existing examples as a launching point and improve upon it. The great thing about interaction and graphics is there are limitless ways to show what you want to show and how to show them. If you’re having trouble, try to narrow down your target to a specific age group. What/how is shown to scientist will be vastly different to what/how to show to elementary children or to high school kids. I’m guessing what’s currently available is less obvious to understand to the average Joe, or even Joe Jr. Simplify. More importantly, have fun with the project, it really sounds interesting IMO.

Anything you enjoy doing and is a challenge is worth doing.