Rotterdam in kaart.
"Make Rotterdam more readable". With that assignment dutch company Mijksenaar came to the University of Applied Sciences. They wanted us to use a mental maps and come up with an interactive map of this data. With a team of four we worked on a data visualization that got out of hand and turned into an interactive way to show people in Rotterdam not only how their city is read by others but also enables them to contribute with data themselves.
Gaining insight from mental maps.
A mental map is a drawing that shows person's point of view perception of their area of interaction. Simply put, it comes down to: "Here's a map, please draw everything you now." For the sake of this case's length I won't go into mental mapping in detail but for more information I can recommend the book 'The image of the City' by Kevin Lynch. To guide the participant it is usually handy to give them some indication of the context. In the case of Rotterdam: The central station and the 'Maas' river.
Mijksenaar started us off with about 50 mental maps they collected themselves. To gain more insight in the problem at hand the team went for a deep hangout in Rotterdam where we collected around 10 maps as well. With these maps we started discovering how people thought the city looked and which places stuck the most.
Some of the mental maps we collected:
Processing the data.
Now that we collected a lot of data we started processing. I won't post the incredibly boring excel sheet we made, mapping which location was drawn how many times (correct and incorrect) and adding categories to the locations. However, after this excel sheet we decided to make an visualization of this data. The first version looked something like this.
An interactive data visualization giving insight in the city.
The final product is an abri-sized data visualization of the mental map data. After making the first visualization we iterated a couple times, reaching the final result.
Because we wanted to do more then just give insight by visualizing the mental map data we added two functions: Displaying exactly where a location is placed (and giving people more insight in how the city actually looks) and making your own mental map on the spot (which will ensure that the city abri's will be part of a self containing system).
Insight on the homescreen
The homescreen shows an real life visualization of the mental maps, indicating which places / categories are drawn the most and whether or not the location was drawn on the correct spot. The interface is specialized for touch with the buttons for creating your own map and the filters placed on the ideal spot for a person of about 1.70m.
Creating mental maps
Creating your own mental map can be done via the yellow button above the filters. After tapping you will see an empty mental map. Via touch and voice control you can add and specifiy places. When you think you're done you simply safe the map and you're homescreen will be live updated with the added data.
See all locations
The exact places where a location is drawn can be viewed by tapping the location-circle. This will bring you to the location page, showing the correct place of the location, all other places this location was drawn and the location you are currently at.