Lost and Found
Aim: Develop a way-finding system for Knowle West.
Audience: Knowle West residents and visitors.
Data Type: Historical, ambient and geographic
Team needed: 8 Junior Digital Producers, Project Manager, Code facilitator
Techniques: workshops on photography, geo tagging and using the app Audio Boo, field research and visits to the local records office.
Tools / Ingredients
- Geotagging – learning how to upload a photograph onto Google maps so that the photograph becomes a piece of data that provides more information about the location.
- Smart phones with camera functions and internet access – to download the Audio Boo app, and to connect to Google maps while out and about.
- Audio Boo – a free app that allows you to geo tag audio as well as images. This is useful for recording ambient data like bird song, or the sound of a specific location.
- Photography – the ability to take a good picture is useful for this task!
- Adobe Illustrator / Photoshop – for creating our own map. We used graphic tablets to draw the images straight into Photoshop, however you can draw the images onto paper and scan them, or use photographs.
- Flash or After Effects – we used these tools to put the animation together at the end of the process.
Stage 1 – Research
When we got to grips with how to take pictures and geo tag, the next step was to go out and find things to tag. We did this by heading outside and finding things in the street, as well as talking to residents and finding out more about the area from them.
Stage 2 – Mapping
For the purpose of our exercise, geo tagging was a natural way to collect lots of geographic data and store it somewhere that was easy to access and understand – a map. The audio we recorded added another sensory element.
Stage 3 – Design
When we had a comprehensive list of everything we wanted to include on the map, we drew a cartoon version that was geographically accurate, but a bit more fun than a traditional map. We plotted the locations of the places we wanted to highlight, and drew icons to represent the points of interest. For example: we drew a blackberry icon for all the berry bushes.
Stage 4 – Animation
When we’d collect all of the images and prepared the map, we made an animation in Adobe After Effects that gave the impression of how the app would work.
Stage 5 – Sound
We added the sound effects recorded from the different locations, as well as some stock sound files that we found online, in the appropriate places. One member of our team is a keen musician, so they composed and recorded an incidental music track to accompany the final animation.
COOKING TIME – 3-5 Weeks
The aim of Lost & Found was to develop a way-finding system for Knowle West, and map its hidden richness.
The area can be difficult to navigate, particularly for visitors, as many of the local buildings were constructed at the same time and are similar architecturally. The idea behind the project was to think about how we navigate, and consider how a way-finding system can be more rewarding than a rusty old information board or a Google Map. Using a mix of specially developed signs, maps, landmarks, and digital tools, the project was designed to help people find their way around the neighbourhood more easily, more usefully, and more enjoyably.
As well as gathering basic information about key routes and landmarks, the Lost & Found team wanted to map the community’s “common knowledge” – local businesses, activities, popular social spots – and information about the character of the smaller villages that make up Knowle West.
Knowle West Media Centre’s Junior Digital Producers (JDPs) went out into the neighbourhood and gathered some of this data, subsequently creating a map of the things they had found – including churches, schools, places to eat, independent businesses, climbable trees and edible berry bushes. They later took part in further research, splitting up to audit strategic locations in Knowle West for their navigational and emotional value. The report they produced using this information was then used by artists collaborating with KWMC to inform their work on the project.
KWMC hopes that by making Knowle West easier and more fun to navigate we can people to explore the area in more depth, walk and cycle more, and gain a better understanding of their area. By highlighting the area’s hidden gems we think we can help people to feel proud of their neighbourhood and more invested in the local community.