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— urbantick

Tag "map"

We can usually have it our way, especially using the digital media. There are so many ways and so many options we’ll find something suitable for you. If not try Google or Spezify. Anyway in terms of mapping there is little choice. You can go for OSM, Google Maps, or StreetMap. How we find our way is extensively dominated by these services. In the streets of London people very often stand around at crossroads with an A4 printout of an internet map page to find their way. In everyday situations the classic map producers such as OS have little meaning. This ultimately is true too for the graphics used by these mapping services. These graphics take a dominating role and influence the way we navigate. This is one of the reasons I mainly use the satellite view, but stil this is a very specific representation. However as for example demonstrated by xxxx in his clip these map representations have become everyday objects we are very familiar with and more importantly we trust. Since we relay on it to navigate, we start to believe in it as a true representation of reality and therefor very deeply start to identify with the product.
Compared to proper maps eg. Kummerly und Frei, Schweizer Landestopographie or OS Master Maps, digital maps like Google Maps are extremely simple and cheep. And still or because of this they become so familiar so quickly.
Artists have quickly realised that this is a great opportunity to reflect on the way we are manipulated by a few providers of navigation graphics. One of them is Christoph Niemann and his Abstract City project is really a joy! Dive in and have it Your Way!

Images taken from niemann.blogs.nytimes.com byChristoph Niemann / Three individual maps from the Abstract City project

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Maps had a definite revival in the last five years. Since the introduction of Google Maps in 2005 there is a steep rise in the use of digital maps. With it maps and more specifically location started entering the list of the top ten worries, at least of citizens. Today most services besides facebook and definitely every newly introduced online service will offer a map somewhere and most likely have a GeoDatabase somewhere.
Location and spatial awareness has probably not had such a buzz since Galilee proofed that the earth is actually round.
As discussed in earlier post on mapping, maps are very much an intellectual abstract simplification used to graphically visualise spatial relationships. The important point is the claim for objectivity through the use of reference points.
With the general rise of maps it is not surprising that it spills over and infects other areas.
The visual arts, however have been using mapping for a long time. But recently in the mist of the trend described above this art practice has obviously had more attention.
This is documented in the Princeton Architectural Press publication ‘The Map as Art, Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography‘ by Katharine Harmon. Harmon is an expert in the filed of maps. She was also the author of ‘You Are Here’.
However, in this publication she focuses solely on examples of contemporary art pieces making use or referencing a map or mapping.

Image taken from simonelvins.com by Simon Elvins / SILENT LONDON – Blind embossed etching – 735x500mm – Edition of 10

Such a collection of art works could very easily just become another catalogue of contemporary art. Very surprising to me, it doesn’t! This probably has to do with a few things, one could be the timelines of the topics (I am very much in love with maps), another the quality of the works chosen or a third the combination of objectivity (geography) and subjectivity (art). Probably it is a combination of the three.
There are plenty of beautiful examples of art maps. Some familiar examples, for example Christian Nold’s Emotion Map on page 143. The book structures the maps into the chapters: Conflict and Sorrow; Global Reckoning; Animal, Vegetable and Mineral; Personal Terrain; You are Here, Somewhere; Inner Visions; Dimension/Deletion.

Image by urbanTick / page showing the ‘Santa Monica art Tool‘ by Carl Cheng

For a more technical grouping of the works it could be said that there are maps in the following categories: ‘using maps as material’ – for example Sally Darlinson or Joao Machado with ‘Swimming’; a second category might be ‘evoked maps’ – with works by Corriette Schoenaets or David Maisel (who is working a lot with photography) and a third category would be ‘altering maps’ for example in the work of Brigitte Williams or Luisa Bufardeci.
This is just to name a few examples and of course how ever you try to organise this wealth of works it never can live up to all of the examples. Best thing to do brows the book every now and then and you wil find a new surprise or map fit.

Harmon, K., 2009. The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, New York, N.Y: Princeton Architectural Press.

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Space has several concepts and each has a slightly different meaning. Even in every day language a space is no a space, but maybe a space. A room might be a space, but also a square might be a space. Probably everything in between is also a space.
In terms of geography the division of space as in measuring it, is very important. This is especially important for the transformation of space (reality) in to a map (abstraction). For this, if you want, Greenwich the home of the Zero Meridian, is basically the beginning of space. Although geographers are not quite sure about the right projection, they make us believe our world looks something like this,

Image taken from Wikipeda – A Mercator Projection date from 1569, but still in use in most class rooms in schools.

Like this,

Image taken from Map Library, the University of Wisconsin – The Robinson Projection

or this,

Image by Philip Lin – An azimuthal equidistant world map projection with Victoria, BC at the centre

You never know, it might look like this

Image taken from markmaunder – Dymaxion Map by Buckminster Fuller

There are literally hundreds of different map projection to map the world (sphere) onto a flat surface (paper). Some show accurate shape (Mercator Projection), others show accurate size (Peters Map)
Anyway, the production of space in this sense is mainly based on a mathematical description of Euclidian space (there are some implications with the involvement of spheres as in the earth, but for now we will neglect this). It is all about the problem of representing the globe on flat plane. And this is really impossible without cracking the object. Some attribute will always be distorted or misrepresented, while other might be preserved more accurate.
The mathematical description of space has entered everyday life understanding of space. Generally speaking the concept of space is the idea of a box where we can put things, objects, people, activities and arrange them to fit. Since most rooms in buildings are rectangles the transformation of early years geometry lessons onto everyday object
Lately the New Scientist has featured a new technique to map our planet earth. The Dutch scientist Jack van Wijk has developed a new technique called “Myriahedral projection” to flattened the globe more accurately using different sets of algorithms to split up the glob into tiny little triangles that can then be cracked open. It really looks similar to the Dymaxion map from above, but for images and review see also article on BLDNGBLOG.

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The life-cycle, a concept to include parts of what this blog is about. There is a limitation to each subject and each activity. In many areas the cycle is something that spans over generations and as such an element of integrations and continuity.
The following clip gives an idea of this life-cycle with a great graphical language:

The Seed from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.

In a web 2.0 society Google has taken over the world of location and mapping. With its free online map service and Google Earth application, most of the visualizations and animations of the UrbanDiary project are based on these tools. It is not only the context, the information, but also the style and the graphics that are dominated by the Google giant. We are more familiar with the graphical language of the Google Maps than with any local guide and special elements of this language are entering our daily lives. Just as the following clip visualizes:

Map from aram bartholl on Vimeo.

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The map of the last three weeks keyed by participant. The dotted lines indicate connections within a trip sequence but without proper GPS signal.

Image by UrbanTick for UrbanDiary using the gpsvisualizer.com to convert the data

There are a number of patterns showing up now. On of the main ones is the difference between workweek and weekend. The workdays are back and forward movement between home and the work place. The London characteristic here is a sort of a star shape. People live outside and travel linear into the centre and back out. For some participants the workweek tracks are only two little islands on the map, connected through a doted line, as a lot of traveling is underground.
The weekend travel pattern on the other hand is mainly around the home location and tends to be directed outwards. Very often this is directed by the location of friends and family.

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There are a number of tag maps out there already, but its always nice to play with them and explore the maps a fresh. This example is based on Flicker tags and it uses Yahoo maps.
Generated with World Explorer. You can get your own applet here. It was developed through Yahoo! Research Berkley.

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Here are two software examples that are specifically designed to tackle the time-space-visualisation-problem. One of them is GeoTime developed by Oculus a leading and award winning provider of visualisation solutions, as they call themselves on the website. It is aiming at high end users and is as expected not cheap. The other one is a Google Code project called timeMap developed at the MIT in connection with the SIMILE project and freely available.
With GeoTime is it possible to visualize time based tracking data in an aquarium sort of way, as developed by the Lund School in the 70ties. It also uses the third dimension to show the passage of time. So spatial locations are shown as x and y and the time is shown as z coordinate. Only this month Oculus released a brand new version 4, which is said to be completely rebuilt in order to, enhance performance. Interesting could also be the Web 2.0 support. The GeoTime application does integrate with ESRI and Microsoft Products.

Image taken from GeoTime website

The really nice thing about the program, compared to the aquarium visualisations in Google Earth, is that the ground plane is interactive and can be moved in the z dimension. Effectively the plane with the spatial configuration of the surrounding represents the present and divides virtually the past from the future. What is useful is that the connection between activity on the vertically extruded path is always relatively close to the surface that displays the context information.

Image taken from GeoTime website

For information purposes Oculus has published a nice flash presentation to introduce the GeoTime software.

The open source software on the other hand is a set of code that can be used and reused. It is basically a JavaScript library and it uses the SIMILE timeline and displays on Google Maps. Different data sets can be loaded including Json and KML. It reads the location information and the time information.
The time line sis in the top part and is visualized as one or more bands that can be moved horizontally in order to move back and forward in time. The map sits below and displays by default events that are visible in the timeline frame.
By scrolling through the time bands the map adjusts. With some simple code elements it is possible to visualize data interactive.
I had a go with the data from the Christmas aquarium that I used to play with the Google Earth gadget earlier this month.
So with a bit of clipping and pasting from different examples I was able to load the KML file and have it displayed in the browser.

Image by urbanTick – Screenshot of timeMap running some urbanDiary data

There are a lot of possibilities to play around with this code. I am really looking forward to spend some time on this. It is not only the layout and the settings in the code that are exiting, but also the possibilities of integrating different data sets. The recorded tracks could for example be accomplished with some life information feed from online sources, e.g. Flicker, Twitter or News. The KML setting also need to be sorted out. The current production line for GPS track files is not very convenient.
I will try to put he version above live soon on my web space to see how it runs online. In the mean time have a look at these examples.
Timemap examples with Json data – Artists & Authors of the Renaissance, Timeline SMILIE example – The JFK Assassination Timeline.

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