Archive for the 'Humanities' Category

A Stab at Infographics

Over the last year one of the major things I’ve learnt is that there is a lot of data out there, some of it’s useful and a lot of it isn’t. Papers are published every hour on every subject and only a minute amount of which is going to be useful in a proposal for Withington high street. Recently I’ve started monitoring more blogs than I can really justify and the main subject that really got me into it was infographics, the display of information, data and knowledge in an understandable and (just sometimes) visually pleasing manor. When they are done well they reflect their subject and convey more meaning than simple graphs or tables would. They are to be looked at and thought “oh that’s what it all means” but then can be reviewed again for a deeper meaning and context. As a side note I should mention the sites I look to for inspiration on this type of thing: Chart Porn, Data Visualization, dataviz, Good//Infographics, Information is Beautiful and Visualizing.

Over the last day I’ve been using information from the Guardian’s DATABLOG and Ofsted reports to create an infographic to show the state of the local primary schools around Withington, my site for this essay. I’ll include the pdf here and a lossy jpeg file below:

Humanities weekly tasks and essay proposal

For our Humanities essay this term we’ve been asked to create a dossier of weekly tasks, all of which aimed at analysing a site (chosen by us) in different ways, firstly looking at the people on site, next mapping the noise on site and so on. This document is the first hand in of the project and was submitted mainly for guidance on how to proceed with planning the essay proper and also adjusting the tasks to really make the most of the activity.

Humanities 1st Draft

The challanges of drawing a moving site

Our first task of 12 which form the appendixes and guides for the essay due in January centres around sketching the site we’ve chosen. As I’e mentioned before I’ve chosen the Northern end of Withington, just below the bustle of Fallowfield. The inhabitants of this small area are mostly students and renters and what interested me most about the site was its lack of destination. The shops in the junction I’ve selected are all real estates and this meeting of four or five roads has so much traffic going through it that it gives the impression that no-one lives here, that it is purely a transitional space. I chose to focus this task on the portrayal of the people on site, because it is their fleeting entry and exit that really makes this site: Appendix 1

Maps and Mapping

During our Humanities lecture last week about the process of mapping there were a couple of very interesting points raised. Firstly, the issue of how maps are arranged according to where they live in the world. For example, Japanese maps have their country and the surrounding continent of Asia as the the centre point (below) which contrasts with maps from the Western world which have Europe and the Greenwich mean-time as it’s centre.

World maps are classically split into either defining political or physical boundaries and features. Our lecturer, Raymond Lucas, raised the point that it is often about how data is shown on your map that defines your stand-point toward it. If you are a country in Asia you will emphasise your stature by placing yourself in the centre, moreover if you are Japan you might even have a sneaky jab at China and make it so that it’s only a fraction of its actual size.

Symbols and colours also play a large part in how a map is viewed. In all maps of the British Empire (also on the map above) the areas controlled are in pink, this is because in Britain at the time Red (central to our flag) was viewed as a very strong and masculine colour but proved too difficult to discern on a map. Pink was therefore chosen and has become the symbol that still represents Britain on Atlases today.

Our weekly task this week for Humanities was to create a map from memory of our sight which we now should be pretty well acquainted with so here are my maps both from memory and from being on site:

Having sat at both the seat by the library entrance and on the wall by the traffic lights, my mapping of the area is fairly accurate. However, the parking area below the traffic light is very skewed and the site is not orientated to North which makes sense as my concentration is not on thee site’s relation to the rest of the city but rather to how my view relates to the site (which would be straight on, not at an angle).

What really inspired me to write this entry was this though, brilliant stuff:

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