Interactive Map: Design Review Report

For my final design I have decided to create an interactive map of Pearl Street. This would be a smaller model of a design that could be implemented on Pearl Street on a much larger scale. I want the first impression to be one of awe and curiosity. Similar to how Natalie talked about interactive museum exhibits on Monday, I wanted to create a design that would engage its users. Far too many maps nowadays, are flat, disengaging creations that are thrown away at the end of the day. I want navigating a city to be exciting, engaging, and fun for tourists to use. My design would also have new mapping techniques that haven’t been used before, revealing new information to mapmakers studying spaces.

The map would function as a light table that lights up different areas of Pearl Street as the user pushes a button. The button color would correlate to the color the LED lights will light up the map of Pearl Street. Each button would have a category, say eating, shopping, rest stops etc. The button being pushed would then trigger the correlating colored LED to light up the different areas. The users can see how the spaces on Pearl Street relate and reach their destination in an engaging, hopefully fun manner, rather than looking at a wrinkled, confusing map.

This design would incorporate the main aesthetic of public art. I would want the map to be a useful tool that attracts tourists to come to Pearl Street while at the same time being pleasing to the eye and attracting people through its interactive component and light aspect. I think it would also incorporate a little bit of the futuristic modern aesthetic that people are pressing towards. Having such an interactive “exhibit” so to speak on Pearl Street would attract more people to the iconic tourist attraction, bringing people into the future of where our technology is headed.

A vision of what the large scale design would appear like on Pearl Street.

My inspirations have developed since my last post. I have gotten rid of my silhouette aesthetic, but that may come into play as I continue with my design. The light aspect and illuminating different areas has come through into my final design as well as the interactive aspect. I carried through the idea of lights that change through touch as well, even if it is just lighting up different areas through a button. I think all of my different design ideas came together into a practical vision for the useful interactive public art that I want to create.

There are multiple challenges to this project, but one of the largest ones for me will be connecting a LED to a button and making it work when I press the button. This may seem like a simple thing to do, but I have never worked with circuits or LED’s, so this is a huge challenge for me. I hope someone will be able to help me through this part of the process as well as give me tips for my other project challenges. I have to decide whether I want 3D printed models of my building or to just have a flat etched acrylic map as well. Constructing the light table form will be a challenge for me as well.

My cost estimate would probably be anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars. I am willing to spend a fair amount on this project to make it successful and create it to the best of my ability. The heightened amount is also due to the fact that I am assuming it won’t turn out perfectly on the first try.

I am going to begin making a checklist of the supplies I need and looking up tutorials that could help me along the process starting Wednesday and hopefully order/buy supplies like the LEDs and buttons over the weekend. I will start creating a file to be laser cut and consider my options and cost of 3D printing. I will most likely be making the LED buttons work first and then tackling the rest of the project and understanding what would be the best way to make the light shine through and how to bring the project together and give it a finished look. There will be iterations of the overall design as well as the technical details of managing the light in the best possible way. I think some other next steps for me, besides understanding the logistics of the design and figuring out how it will perform functionally, will be to design something where the function decides the form as well as the aesthetic. I believe good design is based off of functionality and the aesthetic beauty comes from the whole design adhering to the program or function of the design.

This is the video of my presentation in class.



design report, mapping, public art
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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Derek Sikora
    March 9, 2016 12:48 pm

    This is an awesome idea. I cant help but hope that you contact the city of boulder and have them fund this project so you can create and install a full scale prototype in downtown pearl!

  • Katie Hortik
    March 7, 2016 12:45 pm

    This such a unique idea. I think the success of this project will be in the detail.

  • Jason Mcgrath
    March 7, 2016 12:02 pm

    if you can install this on pearl somewhere, this map is sure to capture a lot of attention, both from tourists and locals. I like how it’s not only dynamic but informative. I would like to see a blinking red light when I say, “Show me Boulder’s best coffee.”

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    March 5, 2016 11:35 am

    This will be a great chance to think about the user interaction side of things too. Could you create the map using a couple of stacked pieces of acrylic? Rather then etching a map, you could cut multiple layers. This may make it easier to put LEDs on the bottom layer by gluing them into a hole in a single sheet. This would also allow you to use different colored sheets if you like (the green disk on Hayden’s turn table caught the light really well and it didn’t have any LEDs). This will be a really cool project!

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    March 4, 2016 12:13 pm

    Love this idea. If you made one for the engineering center, it’d be well used. Cool!


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