112 MC Evaluation

I have learnt a lot from the Google Maps task and I feel that I completed it well. I have used Google Maps for a long time; using Google Earth when it first came out and later on using Google Maps to plan routes within Norwich when I studied there in college. In this task I learnt a lot about the “My Maps” customisation ability, being able to use your own icons and change the colours of many aspects within the map. As I don’t normaly have access to a car, it was only practically feasible to take pictures and film within Coventry; so the addition of film, pictures took the most time to complete, with the quicker tasks being finding their websites and adding them to most of the locations.

I did enjoy the creativity of this task, and I think I may use the “My Maps” function in the future since it seems to be a very useful tool. I feel that my ‘North Walsham to Coventry’ map worked well for the task, as I was able to add 4 content entries in Coventry with a further 2 placemarkers in Norwich and North Walsham; providing pictures, websites and video.

I particularly enjoyed the use of Photoshop in Task 1. I have used Photoshop for a long time and I greatly enjoyed editing my pictures in a way which conforms to the statistic I chose to place with each of my pictures. Placing each piece of Space Marine armour onto the Coventry Boy statue was particularly interesting, as while I have used extensive shading/lighting effects in the past, I havn’t until now ‘dressed up’ something using Photoshop.

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Lectures and Further Research

Over the course of this module I have learnt alot, particularly in terms of how the ‘shape’ of the media in society is rapidly changing in a way that we haven’t seen before, such as what is known as ‘web 2.0’ and ‘web 3.0’.

The Panopticon, invented by Jeremy Bentham has been something I have known about before but didn’t realise untill the lecture how parralels can be drawn from it regarding the ‘surveillance society’. According to an article by the BBC in 2006 there was about 1  CCTV camera for every 14 people in Britain. And with the capabilities of ‘Web 3.0’, the possibilities of how frequently the public can be monitored greatly increases.

Other than the issues with civil liberties, ‘web 3.0’  is supposed to be the ‘semantic’ web, in a sense knowing what you want when you ask for something, applying a meaning to that text. In recent lectures, particularly March 9th and 16th,  we looked at how the semantic web can ‘come alive’ in the sence that it may be able to perform services to your personal needs, in a similar way to how websites like Amazon record your purchase history and then recommends you to buy further products based on the association of that history.

We have also seen a ‘map’ of the internet, showing just how intricate it is as a machine. Though the other kinds of internet map would be the physical map and the comedic popular culture maps, which in this case shows Facebook being much smaller than Myspace as the map was made in 2007, and the websites cunningly positioned close to their associates; with Microsoft and BBC News being on the other side of the world from software piracy sites; which is somewhat ironic considering that BBC News inadvertently give Pirate Bay some of the best free advertising it has ever had when the BBC reported on the site’s owners involved in a court battle, resulting in peer-to-peer downloads increasing by 20%.

As for the ‘proper’ map of the internet which I mentioned first, this visual representation of the network can only grow more complicated as “things” become connected to the internet. In our lectures we learnt how everyday appliances and more will be part of the vast global network, resulting in an internet which turns into an omnipresent network which doesn’t require a desk computer to properly view. Already there are inventions such as the iPhone and iPad which are bringing the internet closer into our lives, creating a truly convergent network when even more gadgets are linked up to each other.

I found the Lecture on March 2nd interesting in the way that inverse surveillance has been widely used by protesters in order to ‘counter’ the recording of themselves by police. As mentioned in the lecture, amateur footage of the G-20 protests were used to show the assult on Ian Tomlinson. I’ve found that the internet-born protest group Anonymous uses masks (typically ‘V for Vendetta’ masks) to hide their identities from the Church of Scientology’s alleged ‘Fair Game policy’ while conducting public protests. Although the use of masks is not ‘inverse surveillance’ itself, it does symbolise a resistance to the use of identification in public, particularly by private companies.

Google Maps- Zombie Outbreak Simulator

Binary Space Games has released an internet game which has turned Google Maps into a sandbox (customisable) Zombie game. It uses a Google Maps image which shows an area close to the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, programming in AI-controlled citizens and zombies (of which there are thousands); turning the map into a working environment by the characters being blocked  by things such as cars, walls and buildings. The characters are given a graphical outline when they are covered from view by things such as tree canopies.

I think this is a great example of a media such as Google Maps merging into something new and fantastically detailed.


Task 3 Process

For my Task 3 ‘My Maps’ journey, I decided to cover the journey from my home town in Norfolk to Coventry University’s Priory Hall. I originally decided to make a ‘My Maps’ journey covering my walk from Priory Hall to the Ellen Terry building. However, I later decided that this would be too short, thus I changed it to include my journey to/from Norfolk.

In order to make the placemarkers more distinctive on my map and more relevant to the building they represent, I used a mixture of default and custom placemarkers, fitting them to the relevant building.

Here, I used the ‘add an icon’ function to apply a picture of a book for the University Library, scaled down to fit onto the map.

For Priory Hall I decided to use the bed whereas for my home town in Norfolk I used the house icon.

Also shown in the Priory Hall picture, I made good use of the ‘Draw a shape’ tool in order to highlight the buildings of interest. I’ve found that it works alot like the Polygonal Lasso Tool in Photoshop.

These placemarkers were useful to import into my map, especially with with the addition of the City College Norwich logo to mark the college in Norwich. However, the one drawback I found with using these custom placemarkers is that despite being scaled-down they are still relatively large compared to the default placemarkers, resulting in the custom ones dominating the area when the ‘camera’ isn’t zoomed all the way in.

Notice the size of the red bed and yellow film camera compared to the book and crucifix.

The yellow film camera is the placemarker for the Ellen Terry building and aptly contains a youtube link which I filmed of the building. This video is a casual representation of the building, showing the exterior and interior. Going with the casual and somewhat tounge-in-cheek nature of the ‘tour’, the music is Nur Tanzen (“Only Dancing”) by House Rockerz & Unter Druck, which I eventually edited in after also considering to use ‘Bang Bang Banquet’ from the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack.

One problem I found when creating the journey route  is that the ‘Draw a line along roads’ tool would sometimes take a completely different route than what I’m trying to draw, despite the fact that I was very careful with the mouse and I didn’t go down one-way streets. To try and correct this, I resorted to using the regular ‘draw a line tool’  when I got close to Priory Hall. However, there were still areas in which the journey route doesn’t conform with my route to/from North Walsham.

Embedded Map

My Maps

A test screenshot of my proposed map; North Walsham to Coventry

Many Eyes data visualisation

(Click survey to enlarge)

For task 2 I was looking for the “aspect of student life” I wanted to know about, and after some consideration I decided to start a survey about the most popular film genres, as personally as a Media student I am interested in which is the most popular.  However I decided to conduct my survey on an online group with a varied demographic so that my results would more representative of the population.

From the results, it appears that sci-fi is the most popular genre, which isn’t too surprising since Avatar recently broke box office records (although I think that was for money rather than the number of people seeing it) and the Documentry/docudrama came out the lowest. I think the biggest supprise was that the horror/slasher genre was joint-2nd-to-last with westerns.

I used the Many Eyes website to create many data visualisations. Below is the link to my survey once I added it to Many Eyes via Excel spreadsheet.


I found the Many Eyes site to be the most usefull for this task, learning quickly how to use it and create several chats. Once uploaded, I used many data visualisations. These included a Bar Chart, Bubble Chart, Stack Graph, Line Graph and a Matrix Chart.

Data Visualisations (click to enlarge):

This is a Photoshoped montage of all 5 of my data visualisations.

On this data visualisation I added a red line for each film genre, as the exact placement and value is not as obvious as it is in the Bar Graph.

As mentioned above, I think that this is the clearest of all the graphs, as it is  generally the best suited for this task and the type of data I have.

This was also good for my data type, but it does suffer from the same problem a the first picture; that being the lack of placement and clear definition between each genre.

This ‘Matrix’ table  works in a similar way to the Bar Chart, but is rather unorthadox in nature, being circular. This does present the problem of the circles becoming larger than their counterparts, overlapping in some cases.

This graph is rather like the Matrix graph yet it is not  fixed to a line, forcing the reader to read the numbers since the size of the circles is not as obvious.