Week 7: Web Map Anatomy and Hoon Kim’s Broadway Soundscapes



Alan McConchie and Beth Schechter provided a very minimal, but informative presentation on the basic structure of a web map via the hackable “Big” system which I fully enjoyed. First off, I truly appreciate this presentation tool and the way it implements minimal hacking to whip up a browser-based presentation that can be shared easily and quickly. I hope to see this form of presentations to be utilized and accessible by a simple click of a hypertext.

Moving on to the content of the presentation, McConchie and Schechter basically dissect the anatomy of a web map, comparing it to the likes of our own human body and how we have systems that are interconnected. They then go more in depth about the layers that create this multi-layered data cake of a creation. Being able to identify and dissect each layer allowed me to approach web maps with more confidence. I’m especially glad to be learning about what makes a web map since there is a definite trend of creative map design that may look geographically accurate, but are in fact based on the designer’s subjective associations which lean more towards a mind map.

Data and content layers definitely sparked my attention since I felt that this was where the creative direction came in. Data layers can essentially be simply points, lines, and polygons marking the tiles that formulate the base layer. However, I can see the vast potential with data layers and its design direction. I also realized at this point that the addition of data layers is ultimately establishing the narrative and objective of your web map. The base layer is your map and your data layers are your pins and tacks.

Although my reference is not a web map, designer Hoon Kim and Sarah William’s research collaboration used various geo-reference data like satellite images and documentary data like NYC 311 Noise Complaints which are logged by location and time. The result of this research was “Walk on Red EX1”, a book and exhibition that showcases an analysis of the registered noise complains in Manhattan in correlation to population densities and mixed property usages around four Manhattan neighborhoods including SoHo, Wall Street, Midtown, and Inwood. Although ambitious, “Walk on Red Ex1” is a very intriguing attempt to visualize the geo-spatiality of sound related events. Kim and Williams utilize the data layers of found web maps of the Manhattan neighborhoods to serve their objective of analyzing and visualizing the neighborhoods’ unseen soundscape. I can definitely see this project expanding into a web based map which would be a nice way to tie up the loose ends of this project seeing that the research for this project first began with web map references.