Category Archives: progress

CHART Scarborough …Interactive!

Filed under launch, progress

So what have we been up to these last two years? Well besides the printed CHART Scarborough maps flying out of the racks (we’re already close to the second re-print running out after the initial maps disappeared within a few months), the project has been working towards a fully interactive media-rich online version.

Developed by Dr John Whelan and Joby Harding (both formerly lecturer and student respectively at the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus) the ‘experimental version’ now online at allows users to create their own trails and add media rich content. This broadens out the scope of the project meaning you can explore the part of Scarborough covered by the map with the addition of sound and video opening up all sorts of potential creative uses for the map and making it something that can be explored remotely as well as on location. We’re looking forward to seeing how people use it.

CHART Scarborough Digital uses the same custom cartography as the printed map developed by Electric Angel based on original map data supplied by Scarborough Borough Council. The intention is to develop the project further and ultimately integrate these two aspects of the project. CHART Scarborough Digital receives a ‘soft launch’ tonight at Scarborough’s Arts & Culture Forum who originally commissioned the CHART Scarborough project.

And there’s more…

Filed under progress

If this is your first visit to this site, then welcome – we hope you find it stimulating and useful. This is just a temporary website as we develop a fully interactive web-based version of the CHART Scarborough map. Development is being carried out by University of Hull Creative Enterprise Lab with Dr. John Whelan project managing and Electric Angel Design as consultants to the project. As we keep saying to people, this map is just the start…

In the meantime, please pick up a map (in venues across the town now), download a trail or two and explore.

launch day

Filed under events, launch, postcards project, progress, the map

it’s launch day… we’ll be revealing the map, display stands, postcards and more. just tweaking the visuals. maybe see you there?

Gone, gone, gone

Filed under progress, the map

(Miles Davis tune reference, in case you were wondering…)

Another peek at the collage side of the map which is now at the printers. First poem by John W Clarke, second by Kate Evans – a reference to The Beatles playing at the seafront Futurist theatre. The letter/number combinations you can see are map references that correspond to the other side of the publication.

Sign off

Filed under progress, the map

It’s final proof day today, just gone through some minor changes to be made and then it’s sign-off tomorrow, then to the printers.

Above is a close-up of the proof showing a new level of detail with the building footprints after our surveying. no-one has mapped an area of Scarborough in this level of detail before, I imagine its pretty rare in general.

The colours are something we’d have loved to spend more time researching but have gone on our experience and some gut instinct. We think that having a suggestion of the building colours instinctively helps the map user figure out where they are on the map. We surveyed the town classifying buildings into a limited palette based on the building material or the frontage/signage if that was more dominant. The cultural landmarks are all magenta regardless to emphasise the cluster of cultural, heritage and arts venues and works in the town.

This pic also demonstrates the ephemeral nature of printed maps in that they’re out of date the minute they’re printed: The Premier Inn is 6 months off completion but will be a landmark when completed due to its corner/roundabout position and the prominence of the brand so we felt we had to label what is currently a building site.

Map as art?

Filed under progress

The most daunting and yet exciting phrase in the design brief for this project was ‘maps as art object’. However, following the interview for the project and initial research, we soon decided that Scarborough deserved the best possible most legible map we could draw. So how would this also fulfil the ‘map as art’ function?

We decided to produce two maps. One side of the printed publication features the map that has resulted from our research, focus groups and much experimentation. The reverse is also a map of Scarborough – composed entirely of photographs. Until recently this had descriptions of some of the key cultural locations but more recently 2 poets were commissioned to compose text to accompany the images.

Here’s a taster – a response to Crescent Arts (underneath the town’s art galley) by John W Clarke:

The things you see
down there!
A pocket fish,
cupboard vistas,
opening horizons of
brick, day printing
into night, throwing
the mud of life.

When the man from the OS came

Filed under progress

We were fortunate to recently have a visit from Glen Hart, Ordnance Survey Head of Research, and one of his colleagues. Glen was visiting John Whelan at the University of Hull Scarborough Campus who has been doing some fascinating (and actually quite beautiful) stuff with OS data and vector graphics.

The CHART Scarborough map, which John used as basis for a student project when it was still at concept level, proved a useful dovetail for John and Glen and gave us an always welcome fresh pair of eyes, not least from someone with a wealth of knowledge and ideas.

Most interesting was discussion on vernacular geography which is a current area of research for OS – basically how a map can provide a ‘sense of place’, which is exactly what CHART Scarborough is all about. As a result we decided to revisit the colour scheme of the map and an idea we initially rejected – that the urban area colours might reflect the building materials or shopfronts of the buildings. Which means getting our there writing down the colour of every building of every street to form a composite for that area. Below is one such record.

This we’re combining this with some more building footprint detail suggested by feedback off the Cartotalk forum. We reckon – although unfortunately we just don’t have time to research this particular aspect fully – that some indication as to the frontage of buildings in both shape and colour will help people locate the area they’re in on the map as well as help in capturing the feel of Scarborough town centre.

We’ll also be taking a final look at the area or neighbourhood names. I’ll write a new post on that, particularly as there’s some discussion brewing about one particular label…

Of cartographers and philosophers

Filed under design, progress, research & consultation, the map

We’ve been getting some feedback on the map from cartographers who draw a lot more maps than we do. Very useful it’s been too, highlighting some key aspects that have slipped past us as we’ve developed that design-blindness that sometimes happens on a long-running project. But something I’ve detected in the resulting discussion and from observing others is that are sometimes two distinct trains of thought about map-making.

One is that maps have developed their own visual language over the last few centuries and a map that follows in this tradition is the best a map can be. It’s tried an tested and refined and it asks that potential users learn how to understand and use such maps.

The other train of thought is that maps are fluid and that cognitive mapping theory, usually in relation to urban maps and particularly in the context of city centre wayfinding, is rewriting the rules. Maps can be far more intuitive that most currently are. This isn’t to deny that cartographer’s skills are just as valuable as before, but that a map can have a different theoretical starting point to which those skills are applied.

Under challenge from the former perspective and a wealth of cartographic experience it’s given me cause to stop and question some of the non-traditional decisions we’ve made, even going back to the theories and philosophies that underpin this project. So buckle those mental seatbelts, and whilst we make some design tweaks, my next post on here will be a whistle-stop ultra-condensed look at situationist theories and whether a map can change place. I bet you can hardly wait.


Filed under progress

Lack of activity on this blog usually indicates a flurry of action with the project (so take a look back and where we posted lots we were probably doing absolutely nothing…). Here’s a quick update.

James, who has been doing most of the work on the map itself recently posted a few thoughts on the electric angel blog:

James has also been out taking photos (such as the one above of marine drive) for the other side of the map which will include text by three local writers/poets: John W Clarke, Kate Evans and Jane Buckley.

The interventions prompted some interest in the street, in the local newspaper and via mobile phone as people texted in their cultural hotspots. There were no real surprises although we do keep spotting cultural spaces and places we hadn’t considered before. As the map approaches completion we’re planning a day when we re-walk every street on it to double-check the accuracy and be sure we haven’t missed anything.

This evening sees the final session of the CHART Scarborough postcards project which we haven’t mentioned on here yet. In short we have brought together a group of both young and retired people to work with a poet (John again) and photographer (Tony Bartholomew) to produce a set of postcards that explore how they perceive and interpret the town. These will both promote the launch of the initial CHART Scarborough printed map and, we hope, encourage people to think more about the place they live and what it means to them.

This evening’s session will be the first time I’ve met the group – I’m the designer who’ll take the resulting images and text and turn them into postcards so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s been produced and gauge some opinions from the group as to how they might work in the printed format so closely associated with the seaside.

Interventions 8

Filed under progress, research & consultation