Thursday 25 September 2008

Quotes for Planning

In a recent trip to Chicago for a conference on planning, I took a few snaps of quotes used to market a new hotel going up in the downtown area. The first one, by Daniel Burnham, is very appropriate to planning since he was responsible, in 1909, for The Plan of Chicago (also known as the Burnham Plan) and it is used by planners time and again to motivate, inspire and cajole. Not quite sure it has any impact but it is a good maxim. The next one symbolises (perhaps) public perceptions of planning and the role it plays in society more broadly. Probably not a fair comment but that is the way it is often viewed (Jane Jacobs' 1961 book is a good place to start looking - see this for very brief overview). The final quote, by Einstein, I think is good to keep in mind when making plans for places and spaces that will most likely be permanent. Again, depending upon your interpretation, it resonates with Jacobs famous text.

Friday 5 September 2008

Screencast Tour

I've been working on a new site at the University of Manchester to host all my screencast content. The content is all locked away inside the University's virtual learning environment (VLE) which is now Blackboard rather than WebCT. Since it's locked away from public view, I did a quick screencast tour of it so that others might have a peek. The video below is a little small to get the full effect, but just sit really close to the screen. All content was produced using Camtasia (from 3.0 to 5.1) and is delivered in flash because that fits in with my Rules of Screencasting.

As you can see, I've customised Blackboard for the purposes of the site and all videos have one click access via unique thumbnails and appear in a new tab/window. This should be going live to students in the next few weeks. I've just over 50 on there so far on a variety of topics but hope to increase the number according to need in the near future. It was about time for another screencasting post, so that's it for now.

Thursday 4 September 2008

The New vs. the Old - Flow Mapping

Back again to a familiar topic - flow mapping. In the past all we had was paper and two dimensions. Now we have e-everything and things can easily be displayed in three dimensions (or 2.5D as we say in the GIS world). The reason for this post is that I'm currently revising some maps for a journal and I have come to the conclusion that some things just can't be effectively displayed in a static, old fashioned manner - they must be made interactive to work properly.

The map below shows about as much as it is possible to show in a traditional geovisualisation of migration. Here I have shown all moves into Manchester (the local authority) between 2000 and 2001, with reciprical links (i.e. where people have moved both in and out along the flow line path) in red, with unique inflows in yellow. I'm busy with other things now, and am still working a lot on the e-learning and screencasting side of things, so time to go...