Monthly Archives: September 2009

More trail ideas

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Kate’s poetry trail idea would make a good pilot trail for the CHART Scarborough map. I’ve just had this thought emailed to me by Richard Flowitt. He says,

“A trail is a journey on a path and since it is in Scarborough it is an urban path or trail. Such a trail is through roads, buildings, gardens and open spaces.Therefore an important visual aspect of the trail must be the buildings and their relationships to the town, the communities and each other, open spaces and their importance.

This does not mean that the prestigious buildings such as The Grand Hotel must be dominant but that the extravagance of the carving and sculptures should be appreciated. Similarly the delicacy of the cast iron bracket next to the St Nicholas Cliff Lift should be enjoyed . This may not be the direction you are proposing to go but could form a small part of your trail.”

I also see the possibility for Scarborough’s architecture forming its own ‘trail’.

That’s the beauty of CHART Scarborough. It’s flexible enough for us to identify and highlight all the various cultural treats we have at our disposal via a range of trails developed by passionate people.

Contact us

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As well as leaving your thoughts on the website, you can contact us at info@chartscarborough.com or leave a message for us via Create on 01723 384545.

Mental Sat Nav-ing

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Scarborough is getting re-presented through various maps of the town, all of which have their place because they all have different purposes. Our map is different and this is how… we’re inviting local people to get involved in helping us make the CHART Scarborough. We are currently organising sessions with budding map-spotters so that we can research people’s mental maps of Scarborough. Not only will that give us useful info which will influence the way our map is designed, but it also means the people of Scarborough have been actively involved in its creation, which is highly relevant to the project. We’re arranging sessions with a Skylark Day Nursery, Ayton Girl Guides, Woodlands School, Scarborough Civic Society and members of the Town Team. If you’d like to get involved, let us know.  Creative Coast is also planning an event at Woodend Creative Workspace on 10 November as part of Yorkshire Digital Week 2009 (www.digital-week.co.uk) to encourage local creatives (& their children) to help us with our research (this event will take place in the early evening… fun activities…. creche…. refreshments…. more info to follow).

Goodbye google maps?

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Another quickie. ‘Bing’ – the renamed Microsoft map thingy allows you to rotate the angle of view. Far more easy for your average human being to navigate with than Google maps street views. This is something I’m sure we’ll be looking at with interest as we consider ‘stage 2′ of web-based version of CHART Scarborough. This section takes in the Rotunda (mid revamp by the look of it), seafront and our studio.

A river runs through it (or used to).

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A quick link I thought might be interesting to anyone following this blog. The new London Tube map has chosen to remove the river Thames. I suspect this isn’t far off us deciding not to include the sea in our planned map. I can see their reasoning – the tube map is not a geographically accurate map and the river doesn’t really belong on it. A map designed with ease of use as the priority, the route of the river was always bound to be somewhat inaccurate, but I figure it was a simple yet vital intuitive aspect of the contemporary tube map. One wonders if there’s a purist at the helm of TfL’s mapping department.

Nice post here on the subject from Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor.

What we’re not doing

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Dorcas and I managed to catch up this week and pin down some of what we are and aren’t doing with CHART Scarborough. This was largely for our own benefit, setting a point from which to push on with the project, but I thought that I’d share some of those thoughts on here.

For example, we’re not looking to produce the definitive Scarborough street map – ours certainly won’t list every street name with a grid reference although we are aiming at something highly legible and usable. Neither are we trying to create the ultimate tourist guide to the town, although we do want to encourage visitors and locals to have a cultural experience of Scarborough. We’re not producing a piece of advertising, rather than repeating the usual blurb we want to try and get the true essence of Scarborough culture. And, despite our enthusiasm for legible cities thinking, it’s not actually not our aim to design a by-the-book legible cities map – we’re being upfront that we want to steer people and shape the mental map they use to navigate the town.

We wonder if what we’re working on here is pretty unique – a map that is informed by the very best of current town-centre legible map thinking, but also seeks to influence the journey’s that people take and ultimately their perception of place. It’s culture meets cognitive mapping – we’d love to hear if anyone has attempted anything like this before.

Website thinking

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Just had a meeting with Dr. John Whelan at the University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus. John is a lecturer in the School of Arts & New Media and leads the Digital Media team. He is going to be working with us on CHART Scarborough to plan the technical direction of the website. 

We have some big ideas about the way in which we can make the website interactive and original, but we have to manage a balancing act between making the website a resource which is accessible to all the community and our digital aspirations.  In the first instance, we need to let the website grow with our community of users.  It’s important that what we do is inclusive, so one of the main aims of our outreach work is to encourage people to use it in a way that is interesting and meaningful to them (I know this sounds pretty obvious) and, as they work with it, we use them to test it, generate content and develop its functionality.

Once we know what sorts of things they want from it, that will help us to take the website in more challenging directions, but we’ll need to continue to work with our users so they can stay engaged, keep up with the technology and keep providing content. It’s them who will be breathing life into the website.

Will spend some time now on mapping things out.