Lab #3

Cooper Halpern, Alex Straus, Ursula Castiblanco

Exercise 1:

This GIS manages, analyzes, and visually portrays spatial and temporal data pertaining to the events of the “Battle of Chancellorsville” in 1863. The virtual interface presents the user with annotated information in timeline and cartographical form. This GIS seeks to facilitate new perspectives and functionality for studying the distinct, sequential events of the “Battle of Chancellorsville” with pertinent, historical description and analysis. Through this interface, fuzzy data can find representation in this moldable, graphical interface. Primary information is eas

The GIS consists of a virtual 2D cartographical map, displaying spatial locations in three interactive layers: first, a base layer map of the world that has continuous, horizontal boundaries and multiple topographic styles; second, image overlays of a physical map in raster form  (3 options organized by date all of which can be turned on or off) on top of the base layer in its analogous location; and lastly, a layer of vector annotations that appear on top both the base and middle layers. These markings have left-click options that when activated display image and written information about the feature. These functions are immediately accessible and comfortably navigable. They allow the user to easily find information of various depth and easily change perspective to their content. They also allow for fuzzy data to be visualized.

There are also temporal features consisting of a time line placed horizontally across the top of the page. A sequence of events in list form is also set vertically along the right side of the page, which, when selected, bring the map view to the zoomed in location on the map. These features facilitates unobtrusive portrayal and easy navigation through discrete events that can be followed sequentially or at one’s desire.

This argument could have been strengthened by allowing user input, whether it be in comments, the creation of digital artifacts, or the uploading and downloading of sources and information. There could have been more in-depth visualization with different viewpoints than a 2D, cartographical map, even if it consists of different layers. I think the creator of this website could have added more features and gotten a little more creative with the possibilities of virtualization, however it upholds an intuitive structure that represents itself cleanly. The basics are there, however the boundaries remain unexplored.

Exercise 2:

The first project that we examined was about the 1969 Swarthmore College sit-in. Black students experiencing segregation demanded equal rights from the predominantly white staff, faculty, and students on campus. This project maps out their eight day sit-in in 1969 and how SASS students made efforts to diversify Swarthmore College using Neatline to benefit visualization. The map in the project is provided by Google Earth and has extremely high resolution imaging. It is also interactive so the viewer can fly around and click on different bullets that give descriptions. The map gives the viewer a feel for the campus. Links to further information include newspaper articles, letters, and images, however, many of them are difficult to read and need explanation and or a translation in legible text. It would be more effective for all documents and photographs to be presented in the one project tab to improve easy accessibility and retain the attention of the viewer.  Additionally, at first glance, the viewer wants to drag the magnifying glass around the large map but the glass is stationary. The project should begin with a zoomed in map of just the campus.

In the second exercise, we compared Hypercities to the Atlas of Early Printing. I could not tell what the spatial argument of hypercities is because when I try to launch hypercities I get an error. According to the UCLA website, the site was intended to provide a dense, multimedia representation of cities through the combination and collaboration of many projects and sources, particularly social media. The argument of the Atlas of Early Printing is that printing was born and evolved over time throughout Europe. The features of hypercities are limited since it does not run. You can view individual collections but they are not connected to each other any way and the way in which they are displayed is disjointed and obtuse. Alternatively, the Early Printing site is constructed as an interactive timeline, so you can look at the growth/amount of printing during a particular period of time. Also, you can click on each printing site (represented as a red dot) to learn about each specific location. The timeline can be animated which makes the growth over time even clearer. Hypercities would have had a stronger argument had the maintenance of the site continued, so that the site would work. The Atlas of Early Printing could have benefitted from a more elegant graphical approach to make the site more approachable but overall the site is well constructed and explained.

Overall, the most significant difference between Neatline and Hypercities is that one works and the other does not. Hypercities is broken and Neatline has a clear and interactive map with detailed explanations of the images. Neatline is not perfect, but it is certainly “better” because it is functional on a basic level.

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