Theirwork un proyecto de Mapeo comunitario

Loe Pool, Cornwall’s largest natural lake in the Southwest of England, has become a sacred place for a group of local residents, who have recently been mapping out their concept of environment. theirwork, an online experiment by designers Dominica Williamson and Emmet Connolly, demonstrates that the future of ecology is a local affair.

Liga al articulo original
recuperado el 23 de marzo 2017

theirwork is a community and user-driven adaptive development of an online map. As a prototype and experimental process it aims to promote the three core areas of sustainability: social, environmental and economic well-being. Providing an empty map where people can deposit information online, it shows how collaborative mapmaking is an important community activity that can drive change and be a tool for empowerment. The development is a highly agile, organic and living process based on constant communication and characterised by inclusion and local/individual relevance. It constitutes a sustainable online vehicle powered by sustainable communal activity. This online experiment draws on the themes from a number of movements, such as green map-making, sustainability, Open Source, folksonomy, visual qualitative research, and user-centred design. The theirworkpractice-based perspective aims to combine the potential of these movements.

In paper-based and computer workshops co-developers jointly discussed their codes (tags), sharing their ideas of place on and offline.

The concept
The online community mapping process is a social, non-commercial enterprise based on one location – Loe Pool, a small freshwater lake suffering from the effects of pollution. To date about eighteen local residents have been involved as co-mappers, but the prototype experiment is open to everyone, so anyone can add to the map  (whether resident or transient visitor). The co-mappers, who become co-developers, have been using the lake environment in a number of ways, over a period of time – walking or running around the lake for leisure and pleasure, riding their bikes, fishing, drawing, picnicking, working. As participants in theirwork they assisted in the first stage of the process by walking, talking and recording their experiences, feelings, and sensory impressions, indicating why they were of interest to them. This provided the basis for marking places on the map. Data taken from the experience of spending time onsite or in the ‘real’ location provided the building blocks from which to construct the virtual location. Now that the surface map is ready, others can join in and add to it. The nature of the web-based interface allows anybody to access the project online when pointed to or when stumbled across. What is more, the interface allows rummaging, meandering, editing and adding to the map-based content.

The background
theirwork derived from a global movement called Green Map System. GMS promotes an eco-cultural way of making maps and is an organisation driven by ‘action and responsibility’. It encourages people at a local level, from any background and from anywhere in the world, to form teams of all ages. Together such teams chart the natural and cultural environments that exist in their streets, parks, rivers and other localities. Working together, these mapmakers gather data, develop designs for maps and finance map productions. The result is, ‘regionally flavoured maps that fulfil local needs, yet are globally connected’ in almost fifty countries. There are over 350 projects and over 250 published maps. The maps are globally recognised and connected because they use the same set of global icons – a Green Map system of shared visual language. The aim is to help people live a better, more sustainable way of life. Teams are increasingly creating online versions of such maps. Many of these are static web pages. Instead of a closed finite map, the theirwork designers wanted to provide an empty map where people could deposit information when online, allowing an ongoing, interactive development.


theirwork draws on themes from a number of movements, such as Green Mapmaking, sustainability, Open Source, folksonomy, phenomenology and qualitative research.

In addition, theirwork wanted to create a map that was easier to maintain and easier to change than a printed or static web map. An up-dateable web map also enabled the creation of a snapshot history of a locale. In addition, creating the right atmosphere online allows the content-caretakers to listen to people as they use the map and as they start archiving data. They can watch and track how the map is used, its efficiency and the impact it is having. It becomes possible to find out whether the map triggers such positive effects as, for example, residents looking after a location better or at the very least, having raised awareness about it.

David Abram’s ‘The Spell of the Sensuous’ inspired the designers’ research and philosophy. Abrams calls for a re-habitation of place and body so that people can start inhabiting places like coastal forests and grasslands again. To do this, he says, requires action. And this action is successful when bioregional communities develop a language that is representative of the local ‘soundscape’ (prevalent sounds found in a particular space). A phenomenological approach was supported and reinforced by this angle of enquiry, and then re-introduced through an ethnographic, as well as a Green Map process of data collection and analysis. The participants were invited to take part in the project before it existed online. Before they typed, they walked, talked, drew and shared ideas. This approach meant that map-making and the power/knowledge that results from the act of creating a map could reach more people, and help more people ‘connect’ to their place. theirwork’s aim was increasingly to facilitate a more empowering understanding of the term sustainability. Bioregional mapping empowers individuals within their localities and gives them a clearer comprehension of sustainable ideas. From this position, theirwork has developed an innovative framework to help explore, de-centre, and re-frame the concept of ‘sustainability’, to generate new meanings and practices.

Liberation through adherence to ‘Openness’
Reflecting all the time and with purpose, theirwork attempts to set an example of project-based sustainable activity, using a sustainable vehicle delivering sustainable data. To meet this maxim it was fundamental to adopt an Open Source method of production (and licensing), in which key ideas are re-use, shared licensing and open content – these are computer software programmes where the source code is made available to anyone who may wish to study it and make derivative versions of it. This is in contrast to the usual computer software systems that exclude, restrict and prohibit derivative versions. The above prohibitive way of working is creating large virtual data piles that can only be altered, customised and improved by the exclusive few who have created the code or have access to the code. This can be related to other ways of digital working. For instance, too many images that can’t be re-used (due to copyright restrictions) are also leading to image-mountains. This type of digital material presence is yet another source of waste production. With theirwork (or a future, fully-fledged version of theirwork grown out of its infancy), one can learn things about a place, store information and then move on to the next place. One can keep walking and learning, working and sharing, as the source code and content is licensed so that others can access, use or change it, resulting in less data to be (re) made. The mantra reduce, reuse, recycle is fully incorporated here.

This way of thinking – future thinking or rather re-thinking is vitally important because until very recently much sustainability practice has been bound up in research-based institutes in the form of academic research or within mainstream government-based funding schemes. The scopes of these organisations has often been highly limited because they have frequently been too stretched or pre-occupied with the usual way of working, embodying standard computer systems, and are not simply motivated and educated enough to apply such practice-based sustainability at the ground level and on a day-to-day basis. theirwork, as an Open Source mapping example, is reaching towards “sustainable software”, implementing a green digital working practice or simply put, a greener way of working with software

In the context of theirwork, the implications of using sustainable software on a day-to-day and long-term project basis are still emerging. Crucially there is an “open” approach to planning and building the project. This openness means more than simply Open Source software licensing. It is the openness to allow the project to naturally find its own path to success; to avoid being overly deterministic, even dictatorial in the planning of a project, and to be instead open to new ideas, letting the project evolve and take its own direction, allowing access to anyone who wishes to get involved or move the project in a new direction.

Over time unexpected, but worthwhile results will emerge, results that would be impossible if a project was subject to the strict restraints of commercial software development. By working outside the confines of profit-driven commercial systems and outside set and established standards the mapping activity operates in a guerrilla-like way, exploiting the freedom to roam on a journey of discovery. These ideas are derived from the software world where Open Source software, allows anyone to adapt it to their own needs – basically do with it as they please. There is a rich ecosystem of software development that has grown out of this area, and there are many examples of successful software projects that could never have happened, or been sustainable, without this model to support it. Linux operating systems, one of the only challenges to the virtual commercial monopoly held by Microsoft with their Windows Operating System, is one example of this. This model, applied quite comfortably to software development here, can easily be applied to other models of production or organisation as well.

Political and philosophical directions influenced even the most technical aspects of the development of the project. The use of licensed mapping software (such as Google’s online mapping technology) was rejected in favour of a more open approach. Instead, bespoke software for representing and interacting with the on-screen map was developed. Thankfully, some Open Source programming toolkits were accessible that helped greatly in creating the software and meant that this intimidating task did not have to be undertaken from scratch. The work made available by others was used  -and built upon to realise the project’s unique vision – without compromising.

Another brick in the sustainability wall is that of Open Data. Ordnance Survey licensing issues are an excellent example of the bad and ugly counterpart of Open Data. By contrast, making data open, accessible and free encourages people to get involved without having to fear that their contribution will disappear into a black hole. By sharing the material that all of us can contribute, and by putting it into the public domain, widespread engagement is facilitated and encouraged, the quality of the material improves exponentially, opening up excess spare time for new developments. Growth potential – the much-hyped buzzword in business parlance – takes on real meaning.

The building blocks

To achieve the degree of openness and communal co-development that enables co-mappers to participate in steering the concept of the project, it was important to let them ‘roam free’ after delivering an induction to the process in a first focus session. The co-mappers then revisited the lake as part of the theirwork project, aiming to make the ‘world into a home’, re-experiencing the importance of the place through texture, silence and sound, image and emotional experiences. The act of walking and recording walks became an important area for each co-mapper. The ‘type of walk’ each co-mapper liked to do became an integral part of data collection and data analysis. The co-mappers were helped in tracking the walks; sites of interest, favourite places, memory spots, stories connected to a place, objects, plants and animals were noted using cameras, notebooks, a GPS unit and Dictaphone.

The co-mappers were involved in creating the base map of the lake as well as in the creation of the content for the base map. To do this theirwork walked around the perimeter of the Cornish lake with a GPS unit (Global Positioning System), recording track points of the path, taking photos for reference and subsequently transferring this data to a computer. At any stage, this base map can be reviewed and changed by co-mappers. They have now become co-developers. Currently the only way to mark a place on the map is by way of entering a geocode (a latitude and longitude figure), rather than just dropping the place of interest onto the map – over time the goal is to change and improve this, because the core idea is to let people add data of personal relevance, to tell others why they feel the place is important, in short to share their innermost feelings about their locale. In time, snapshots of history can be built up as people add their photographs or drawings, and eventually sound may also emanate from the map or its markings. Continuous change as an inherent element of theirwork based on user-interactivity makes online-mapping a site of user empowerment, by the user for the user.

To help collect, translate, share and code the data, a loose framework of qualitative enquiry was developed based on Douglas Ezzy’s multi-disciplinary approach. He believes multidisciplinary approaches to qualitative research are integral to good ethnography and theirwork was influenced by his way of working with conversation and text. theirwork introduced co-developers to qualitative coding methods as a way of creating open collaboration that was down to earth and easy to relate to. The framework used open and closed questions. Answers to open questions, such as “What do you feel about the lake?” were geo-tagged. Adhering to Ezzy’s recommendation of a participatory-grounded ethnographic approach to data collection, theirwork fitted into each co-developer’s agenda.

To capture the essence of informal walks – like was it a sunny, cloudy, windy or rainy day? Dictaphone recordings were transcribed. Some of the codes that developed from the walks were words such as rocks, water, agriculture, birds, meditation, trees, fields, memories, fish, events. They originate from sentences by eight different people, referring to their direct interests around the lake. In a paper-based workshop co-developers then jointly discussed the codes, shared their record of the walk from memory and grouped their memories into shared title codes. Importantly, qualitative data became coded by the co-developers, not by some distant and ‘removed’ ethnographer.

The next step and an important part in the puzzle of mapmaking is how to categorise the collected data. In fact, with the coding that had taken place categorisation had already started to take place. Tags were ready-made for the map interface. A starter kit had been created, which effectively introduced the co-developers to tagging or folksonomy. Folksonomy is an internet-based information-retrieval methodology. It aims to make a body of information easier to search, discover, and navigate over time. A well-developed folksonomy becomes a shared vocabulary that is originated by, and familiar to its users.

Using this folksonomic approach theirwork tackled the question of what a sustainable model of group data classification actually is? Green Maps have encountered this problem. Setting criteria for what should appear on a map immediately amounts to editorial control. If this control is strong, it results in the exclusion of data that some people feel is important, and counters the idea of openness. If free reign is permitted, the end result may lack structure and may collapse into chaos. theirwork was keen to give co-developers as much personal choice in terms of content as possible without jeopardising a final map that would still show a coherent picture. This involved discarding any notions of hierarchical classification, and instead allowing co-developers to tag their data with keywords to describe it instead. A data point has many keywords pinned onto it instead of just being placed into a single category. This actually opens up the process significantly and leads to a much more creative way of adding data. Users now have the freedom to use the map in ways that may never have been thought of in the first place – one of theirwork’s major goals.

Workshops have played an important part in the process, from the introductory focus session through to the paper workshop, which set the stage for a computer workshop. The computer workshop tested the beta software framework. Co-mappers were by then able to teach each other how to use the software framework. They put marks on the map using latitude and longitude figures supplied from the archive of their walks. They tagged their marks efficiently and with ease, having been introduced to the concept of folksonomy in the paper workshop.

The theirwork designers listened carefully to co-developers views, feelings and ideas for the future of the software. When things started taking shape onscreen the mood in the workshop room was electrifying: everyone suddenly watched their places appear on the map and all the efforts and concepts that must at times have seemed utterly puzzling started to make sense. Meeting the designer Emmet on web-cam, as he fixed technical problems from Dublin, was another exciting moment. Everyone in the room was totally thrilled when tags suddenly got bigger than others – realising the connection of frequency of use, when others shared their tag. More workshops and more walks were requested – theirwork co-developers had caught the mapping bug.

The future
Far from being content with daytime mapping, already full moon walks have taken place – creating, recording and archiving night-time words and night-time drawings. In addition to the recording of every day walks and conversations, co-developers also requested specialist events. The first butterfly foray has taken place, and bat and moth parties and sea-mapping events are in the pipeline.

The theirwork designers regard this as testimony of the project’s success so far, and in the name of ‘sustainability’ more paper and computer workshops are being planned. A resource workshop is under development. This will introduce co-mappers to a number of tools such as RSS feeds, flickr functions, book marking libraries and forum functions (feed:// > > >

Establishing a counterforce to commonly established protocols and thinking on a small-scale local level, is success in itself. Enhancing a somewhat taken-for-granted experience of local landscape through developing a shared consciousness of one’s closest surroundings is an added bonus. What gives the greatest satisfaction is to see community activity turning guerrilla activity and achieving sustainable results quite apart from the pleasure of seeing participants’ enjoyment in the mapping process, which has given them a heightened awareness of their locality. They now see the old environment with new eyes.

What is important here is that the mapmaking process continues (is sustainable) and is grounded in multiple perspectives. Multiple voices and autonomous experiences are documented via first person sensory experience and through a community’s felt experience of landscape. theirwork is not just about walking around and making a map, it is about a collective digital notebook or diary – a storage box and a place of reflection. In a sense theirwork is about giving room for place in varying ways, so that it can become valued and brought into a shared consciousness. Encouraging actual bodies to walk, talk and record experiences in real-time space is creating a highly personalised, visual, kinaesthetic, emotional, sensory and tactile copyright-free bioregional map. The question now is how sustainable is it to grow and roam the project elsewhere?

Project Details




Green Map:

Green Atlas:

Loe Pool:

Open Source:

Emmet Connolly is an interaction designer living in Dublin. Dominica Williamson is a freelance artist and designer working in the field of digital design and sustainability and is based in Cornwall.

The theirwork designers would like to thank all the co-developers who have been involved in the project so far, and to those who supported early R&D, and to all those in Green Map System.



Atando cabos en términos de visualización y Cognición

Les dejo mi presentación del seminario de REMO del pasado miércoles,  sobre un artículo de Bruno Latour del 1986 donde nos plantea prestara atención en los dibujos, diagramas  o dispositivos que surgen a partir de la practica científica que dirigen la manera en que la información se transforma en inscripciones.

Estos artefactos que él llama móviles inmutables son los que permiten la movilización de recursos informativos a través del espacio tiempo y como a partir de ellos podemos entendernos entre disciplinas.

Latour, B. (1986). Visualisation and Cognition: Drawing Things Together. In Knowledge and Society Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present, 6 (0), 1-40. Greenwich, CT: Jai Press.

Y por eso, no nos quieren a los publicistas ni a los diseñadores.

De verdad, ¿Cuándo vamos a dejar de engañarnos? a nosotros mismos.

Les cuento una anécdota totalmente ordinaria, pero que me llena de rabia. Resulta que estamos tratando de hacer licuados para las hijas en la mañana que van con tanta prisa a la escuela y buscamos un yogurt SIN AZUCAR –que por cierto es una hazaña para encontrar en el supermercado hoy en día, a excepción del de Alpura. Cuando me refiero a SIN AZUCAR por lo menos espero que el yogurt tenga un sabor “acidito” para que yo le agregue un poco de miel o mascabado, pero que no empalague. No soy nutrióloga, sólo  soy una diseñadora, pero mi paladar alcanza a distinguir cualquier endulzante en los productos lácteos. (Quizás no tanto para detectar el de la leche).

Bueno pues resulta que mi esposo fue al super y compró VITALÍNEA de Danone que como podrán aprecian el la foto el empaque dice “DANONE”, “Vitalínea” “SIN AZUCAR” y abajo de este encabezado bastante grande con letras cursivas dice “Natural”. Bueno el caso es que ya llevamos varios días dando este yogurt a las hijas, con un poco de miel. Y hoy que decidí probarlo, me doy cuenta que sabe super dulce, de hecho mi paladar encuentra un sabor parecido el que “deja” los productos “light!!! que odio, desde la “Coca Zero” hasta cualquier que lleve un endulzante artificial o natural como “stevia”.


El caso es que si usamos el sentido común, queremos un yogurt sin el sabor dulce o endulzantes, (no importa si se llama, azúcar, sacarosastevia o que se yo).  pero lo común es pensar que uno que dice en su etiqueta “SIN AZUCAR” haga el trabajo. Y bueno les sigo contando el leer los ingredientes me encuentro con La tabla nutrimental que dice, por cada porción de 125 g, que le hemos dado a las hijas, NO tiene Azúcares añadidos pero si tiene 7,5 (g)  de Azúcares.

¿Qué Azúcares?
Leyendo el texto de los ingredientes, más abajo, creo que lo que le hemos estado dando a nuestras hijas en las mañanas es una mezcla de:  jarabe de maltrodextina, almidón modificado, acesulfame K y sucralosa, más una pequeña dosis de miel, o sea lo contrario a mis expectativas de evitar los cereales.


Ahora desde el punto de vista del diseño, me debí dar cuenta que el lema “SIN AZUCAR”, es de color cyan, lo que equivale según el gradioso libro de María Acaso, “El lenguaje visual”, que es como se comunican las categoría de light, en nuestro contexto, y el color morado, también avisa al consumidor que es un producto lácteo light. Pero que creen, yo no compré el producto, lo compró mi esposo (quién también es diseñador) e iba buscando un yogurt sin azúcar y nosotros nos preguntamos, los diseñadores del empaque sabrían lo que están haciendo o ¿Sólo hicieron la “traducción” de lo que hace la competencia para vender más?. Qué falta hace una investigación centrada en las expectativas del usuario y no una para ganarle a la competencia.

Y este enojo que me lleva a escribir esto, es una denuncia tanto para la compañía Danone, como para la agencia que le lleva la publicidad, y un llamado a mis colegas diseñadores de información, quienes trabajamos  para que que las personas reciban información “clara y transparente” pero sobretodo cuya labor trata de empatar “la expectativa” de un producto con el producto mismo y no trabajamos para mostrar conceptos dudosos y complicados “enmascarillándo” la información para que la gente compre.

Así que si la próxima vez nos piden un trabajo así, pensemos que es lo que la gente espera y si el producto realmente cumple con esa tarea y por lo menos lo mas ético es hacérselo saber a nuestros clientes. Aunque la NORMA diga lo contrario.

La ultima pregunta que va mas para mis estudiantes de diseño: Como tendría que ser un empaque menos engañoso y turbio, es decir más congruente con la expectativa del consumidor. Podría decir “SIN ENDULZANTES”? y podría tener una tabla nutrimental más sencilla y legible.

Bueno he dicho… GRACIAS  por leer.



Infografía de lo clásicos de la Sociología

Ahora que estoy adentrándome al estudio de las Sociología, con gran interés noto que ciertas filosofías, metodologías y teorías que damos por sentadas en el diseño, vienen de grandes pensadores y escuelas con mucha tradición, sobretodo mucha reflexión y producción de obras que son como semillas que se han encargado de germinar en la mente de otros pensadores.
Así es que con el propósito de obtener un entendimiento de la teoría sociológica y la relación de las ideas de los grandes sociólogos modernos con el contexto histórico de sus obras, así como la influencias de ese pensamiento, tomé la clase de Teoría Social con el Dr. Jorge Galindo en el posgrado de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades en la UAM Cuajimalpa, e inspirada en el trabajo de la ilustradora Wendy Macnaughton, realicé apuntes visuales en cada clase con mi tableta, (iPad) en el programa Adobe Ideas) y después sinteticé esta información en Adobe Illustrator, dando como resultado la version 1.0 de esta visualización.

La infografía que presento a continuación, muestra una linea de tiempo en 4 colores de las principales corrientes de pensamiento destacadas dentro de la clase: El Positivismo, Marxismo, Funcionalismo-Estructuralista y Propuestas Alternativas. La intensidad del color muestra como e apogeo de dicha forma de pensamiento, mientras que cuando el color se atenúa, significa que va perdiendo fuerza o vigencia dicha corriente. En cada carril se muestra eventos representativos y como si fueran lineas de las estaciones del Metro, estas desembocan en cada autor. Por otro lado, analizo las influencias de pensadores y filósofos de cada autor y en los escritos a mano alzada trato de mostrar un resumen de lo comentado en clase y las lecturas que hicimos, así como sus obras mas destacadas y algunos diagramas sintéticos, expuestos en la clase.

Me hubiera gustado agregar mas material de mis notas, pero es difícil ya que fue un trabajo de un trimestre completo de una maravillosa y muy recomendable clase.


Como todo gráfico informativo el objetivo es la eficacia comunicativa es decir que contempla que una persona o usuario, utilice la información por lo que el proceso involucra una primera etapa de recopilación de datos, codificación visuo-textual y por el otro ese usuario debe decodificar la información e interpretarla.

Infografía Los clásicos de la Sociología v1.0 por Nora Morales 

Por lo que, es de extrema importancia, validar esta información que comparto hoy con ustedes de la primera versión (1.0), misma que a su vez está siendo revisada y espero tener una segunda versión muy pronto. Esta versión será utilizada como material de apoyo para los alumnos de licenciatura de Ciencias sociales y por supuesto me gustaría saber que piensan de ella y como la mejorarían, se aceptan sugerencias y observaciones para una segunda y posiblemente, tercera versión. Planeo una publicación impresa para mediados de esta año ya validada como material de apoyo. (les aviso a los interesados).

Creo que este de  ejercicio de participación del diseño de información nos puede permitir  reflexionar y explorar distintas corrientes del pensamiento, desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria. Para los que formaron parte de la clase les puede ayudar como un soporte gráfico para recordar los contenidos de la clase y  para los que no formaron parte de ella, es una invitación a echar un vistazo a lo que ocurrió en el trimestre de otoño del 2016. Pero todos están invitados a mantener un diálogo a partir de este medio.

Me despido con una definición de Alberto Cairo sobre  la visualización de la información:

“La visualización de la información es una tecnología plural, que consiste en transformar los datos en información semántica, por medio de una sintaxis de fronteras imprecisas y en constante evolución, basada en la conjunción de signos de naturaleza figurativa y otros de naturaleza abstracta”.  (Cairo

Como fuentes de información además de el profesor de la clase, me apoyé de estos textos:

Joas, H., Knöbl, W., & Skinner, A. (2009). Social theory: twenty introductory lectures. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.
Thorpe, C. (2016). El libro de la sociología. Tres Cantos, Madrid: Akal.
Bibliografía de esta entrada.
Cairo, A. (2011). El arte de lo funcional: infografía y visualización de información. Madrid: Alamut.



Visual reasoning through information design

El razonamiento visual a partir del diseño de información

Mapping Complex Information. Theory and Practice

On the left are three problem figures that are a related series. On the right are three answer figures, one of which is the fourth of this series. Can you induce the remaining answer figure?Visual Induction Problem: On the left are three problem figures that are a related series. On the right are three answer figures, one of which is the fourth of this series. Can you induce the remaining answer figure? (Based on McKim, 1980)

The visual communication of complex or less known topics (e.g. science, medicine, mathematics) in simpler and clearer ways appeals to users and readers’ visual reasoning. Visual reasoning is the process of both analysing information presented in visual form (e.g. pictures, diagrams, drawings) and solving problems based on visual logic combining verbal, mathematical and visual analysis. As with other types of reasoning, McKim (1980) explains that visual reasoning can be deductive: we move from abstract to concrete ideas (e.g. reconstructing an image when a part is missing). Or it can be inductive: we start with concrete visuals or images, and need to figure out the underlying abstract principles or ideas.

We all think visually: e.g. we…

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EL paso del tiempo y su impacto en la tierra.

Las nuevas tecnologías de la imagen (como: Timelapse) nos permiten ver en pocos segundos lo que ha ocurrido en largos periodos de tiempo vean este fascinante trabajo que está haciendo la NASA, con Google y los datos de la encuetsa de geolocalización de U.S.A así como el CREATE Lab de Carnegie Mellon University

A Terrifying, Fascinating Timelapse of 30 Years of Human Impact on Earth

A new interactive project from Google, NASA and the US Geological Survey.


Since the 1970s, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have been amassing satellite images of every inch of our planet as part of the Landsat program. Over time, the images reveal a record of change: of cities expanding, lakes and forests disappearing, new islands emerging from the sea off the coast of rising Middle East metropolises like Dubai.

If you could thumb through these historic pictures as if in a flip book, they would show stunning change across the earth’s surface, in both our natural environments and our man-made ones. Now, the digital equivalent of that experience is possible – three decades of global change as GIF – in a project unveiled today between NASA, the USGS, TIME, Google, and the CREATE Labat Carnegie Mellon University.

Landsat images taken between 1984 and 2012 have been converted into a seamless, navigable animation built from millions of satellite photos. As Google wrote this morning on its blog: “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.”

Below are a few of the GIFs Google has created showing some of the most startling pockets of change:

You can also zoom in to any spot on the planet – your hometown, the Amazon, your favorite Chinese mega-city – and watch the same three-decade timelapse unroll. Good luck getting anything done for the rest of the day.

The above image shows Dubai in 2011.

“Tomar Notas” no es transcribir, es sintetizar y para ello necesitas pensar

Justo ayer y anteayer, me dediqué a tomar Apuntes Visuales en el 2do Foro Académico de la Zona Poniente de la Ciudad de México, donde participamos más de cuatro instituciones de educación superior: La UAM, La IBERO, El CIDE y el ITESM, entre otros.

La tarea de la documentación fue ardua, pero recomendable, al final se expusieron las notas mientras se comentaban las conclusiones del evento y fue gratificante ver tus dibujos en pantalla. Una querida amiga puso un artículo de NPR en Facebook,  que me hizo reflexionar sobre mi labor y el cuál copio a continuación; El título del mismo se podría traducir a:“Atención estudiantes” dejen a un lado sus computadoras.

Lo más interesante de este artículo y si llegan a leer en las conclusiones, es que las nuevas tecnologías han evolucionando de tal manera que ahora es posible tomar apuntes, con un  lápiz de manera directa sobre la pantalla de nuestros dispositivos portátiles como pueden ver en las siguientes imágenes que tomó mi colega, Brenda Gracía.


Me pregunto si esta modalidad, de alguna manera nos está  regresando a la actividad tradicional de tomar apuntes y si es así sirve igual para el experimento que explican en el articulo, por lo menos desde mi punto de vista, creo que la actividad es muy parecida y el nivel de concentración es el mismo al igual que el proceso. Ustedes que dicen?


Bueno les dejo el artículo:

“Attention, Students: Put your Laptops away”

April 17, 20166:00 AM ET
Heard on Weekend Edition Sunday

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there’s a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it’s so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.

In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.

“When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can,” Mueller tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative note-taking pertains to “summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping,” while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim.

And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they’re hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweigh the drawbacks of not processing that information. On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at.

For their first study, they took university students (the standard guinea pig of psychology) and showed them TED talks about various topics. Afterward, they found that the students who used laptops typed significantly more words than those who took notes by hand. When testing how well the students remembered information, the researchers found a key point of divergence in the type of question. For questions that asked students to simply remember facts, like dates, both groups did equally well. But for “conceptual-application” questions, such as, “How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?” the laptop users did “significantly worse.”

The same thing happened in the second study, even when they specifically told students using laptops to try to avoid writing things down verbatim. “Even when we told people they shouldn’t be taking these verbatim notes, they were not able to overcome that instinct,” Mueller says. The more words the students copied verbatim, the worse they performed on recall tests.

And to test the external-storage hypothesis, for the third study they gave students the opportunity to review their notes in between the lecture and test. The thinking is, if students have time to study their notes from their laptops, the fact that they typed more extensive notes than their longhand-writing peers could possibly help them perform better.

But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. “This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions,” Mueller and Oppenheimer write.

Do studies like these mean wise college students will start migrating back to notebooks?

“I think it is a hard sell to get people to go back to pen and paper,” Mueller says. “But they are developing lots of technologies now like Livescribe and various stylus and tablet technologies that are getting better and better. And I think that will be sort of an easier sell to college students and people of that generation.”

la liga:

Giorgia Lupi nos cuenta, porque dibuja

Les comparto esta super entervista que la revista Green futures le hace a Giorgia Lupi quien refelxiona sobre el dibujo en la visulización de la información.


Why I draw: Giorgia Lupi on the art of visual understanding

17th November, 2014 by Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi, information designer and co-founder of Accurat, explains how drawing can lead to new ways of seeing and understanding.

Giorgia Lupi

Why do you draw?
I draw to freely explore possibilities. I draw to visually understand what I am thinking. I draw to evaluate my ideas and intuitions by seeing them coming to life on paper. I draw to help my mind think without limitations, without boundaries.

Drawing plays an important role in the production and communication of knowledge, and in the genesis of new ideas. It illustrates how instinctively our perception is directed towards finding meaning in things, recognising things. The act of drawing, and the very fact we choose to stop and draw, demands focus and attention. I use drawing as my primary expression, as a sort of functional tool for capturing and exploring thoughts.

For me, drawing is also an obsession: I always carry pens, pencils and paper in any situation. I cannot think about a project without a pen and some paper. Drawing is my way to understand that I had an idea in the first place. Besides, I take an incredible pleasure in tracing lines on paper and seeing abstract shapes come alive.

When does drawing become design?
I see design as a way to translate a structural concept for a specific audience, through a specific medium. It is also the process of visual planning and organising the choices made along the way of a project, given the specific boundaries of it. Drawing becomes design when you start tracing lines that help you rationalise what you think, and envision a possible solution. When it comes to designing data visualisations, I see three phases. One is understanding the macro categories to start sketching the first visual possibilities to organise the data, its ‘architecture’. Then I focus on the singular elements, the entry points, to figure out which shapes, colours and features we might invent to represent the sub-categories. Finally, we structure what I’d expect to eventually have in Illustrator software, but on paper. Isn’t drawing already ‘design’ in these phases? I think so.

What impact would you most like to have through your drawings?
I don’t draw to have an impact, I draw for myself. My drawings are never final pieces. I think this is something very personal. The most important impact I want my drawings to have is to lead me towards new, unexpected and beautiful visual design solutions, to create powerful and unusual visual compositions with data. In fact, I really want our work to be accurate, but beautiful and disruptive to a certain extent.

Do you see yourself as part of a data visualisation movement?
What drives me is the search for multiple ways to create unexpected, beautiful things in a way that can accurately represent complex systems of information. More generally, I think there are many reasons for the popularity of data visualisations. People are exposed to an increasing stream of content from many sources; bright and catchy images such as infographics fit perfectly into this media diet, playing with hierarchies to provide multiple levels of possible readings within a single piece. Of course, the proliferation of a number of easy-to-use and free tools has made the creation of infographics available to a large segment of the population, even non-experts.

What does it mean to be a designer?
To be a designer you have to find new ways to attract attention through new languages, products and solutions that – besides being functional and appropriate – must be magnetic and surprising. There are no universal answers to ‘how’ one does that. I think that I would simply say that it’s important not to leave any possibilities unexplored; and that it’s important to pursue logical solutions while freely letting the imagination flow.

Sometimes a great idea can come unexpectedly. Free explorations in design can lead to insights and epiphanies that cannot be always anticipated with a rational design approach. What I always do when I start every kind of project is allow myself to have time to get inspired by the world around me, while having the ‘brief’ in mind. I spend a great amount of time looking for visual inspiration, which I carefully organise on Pinterest.

What advice would you give to someone who can’t draw?
There is a lot of freedom in drawing; sometimes this freedom can scare and paralyse you. Complete freedom is never very good for coming up with truly disruptive ideas.

Even in my personal project I set constraints. What I would suggest is to start with a topic you want to explore (or redraw), and some rules for the final output, and then just start. And do it again. And do it again.

Draw for yourself, not for anybody else. And approach drawing less scientifically, more naively.

I draw without any prejudice: letting my hand go freely, without asking if it makes sense for the project in that very moment. Then I look at what I’ve drawn and decide whether to work on it, engaging this loop between thoughts, paper and sight.

Giorgia Lupi is co-founder and Design Director at Accurat, an information design company based in Milan and New York.

Image credit: Giorgia Lupi



Post-it urbanista. “El mapa de cualquier ciudad”

Muchas veces he pensado en las implicaciones que ha traído la tecnología del post-it no sólo para el diseño o la innovación, sino para cualquier descubrimiento dentro de cualquier disciplina y me mandaron esta liga del blog de 99%invisible.

La historia comienza con un boceto que hace Chaz Hutton en un post it, sobre la experiencia de vivir en la ciudad;  El “bosquejo ficticio” que en realidad no es un mapa, pero toma elementos dispuestos a manera  croquis que lo hace parecer lugar, poco a poco se vuelve viral, ya que varias personas trataron de identificarlo con un lugar real y crean sus propios bosquejos de lo que significa para ellos vivir en la ciudad. Esto da la idea a Chaz de hacer un bosquejo general de cada ciudad y analizar lo que la gente representa y que nos puede decir el imaginario colectivo y lo que puede representar para entender la ciudad.


Les dejo la liga y disfruten.

El proyecto me recuerda al de l artista Becky Cooper en su libro “Mapping Manhatan. A Love Story in maps”en el que Becky distribuye en la ciudad de NY una serie de volantes para que los participantes cuenten su historia y se encuentra con que muchas veces estas representaciones nos dicen mas sobre las personas que crean los mapas que sobre el propio lugar.