Tulum Raiders Wk8 Update

1. Final Project Proposal

Purpose of our website:

The Tulum Neighborhood Portal has two functions:

1) A one-stop neighborhood resource map for the citizens of the city of Tulum.

2) A tool for the citizens to participate in city planning by identifying places they like or need improvement. Citizens can also suggests resources needed in the community.

Main functions:

1) Community resources: they are toggled by category, so viewers can turn them on or off at their viewing convenience.

2) Red/Green/Magic Wand: users can directly click the map to add three types of markers to “evaluate” their neighborhoods.

Red: Indicates an unsatisfactory area or asset that needs attention

Green: Indicates a positive asset in the community

Magic Wand: Indicates a non-existing, but desired asset

3) Twitter Widget: it does a live search and streams Tulum-related tweets. Citizens/public officials can advertise community events or announcements by including “Tulum” in their tweets to be listed in the widget. This allows them to reach Tulum- centered audience when tweeting about events happening in the city.

4) Picasa API: retrieve photos from Picasa album and show photos in slideshows. Pictures will be shown in the box below the title.

2. Updated wireframe and/or mockup/storyboards

<Top Page>

*Note: Only 2 maps will be created: 1) Neighborhood Resources, 2) Maps to include red/green lights, and magic wand.

<Red/Green/Magic Wand Function>

3. Current development status

  • Community resources, streets, bike pads, community districts are mapped.
  • Website design completed.
  • Picasa API: now working.
  • Community resource legend: now working
  • User guide: now working
  • Red/Green/Magic Wand: function to add a marker was created. Need to add a function to store the marker.

4. Challenges/issues

  • Tulum does not have address (except for a few landmark buildings or hotels). So users cannot type addresses in a “search box” to find places or get directions. Instead, we created neighborhood district boundaries. They are toggled by the name of the districts. Users can narrow down their search by clicking on these districts. Can we substitute the required direction function by this?

Week 8 Bus Map

Click on the image above or click here to access the full website.

A new function was added to our website. Now you can draw a chart to get the detail breakdown of population with age over 60. To create a chart, simply click on the map anywhere near the proposed bus stops. A chart will appear under the “chart” tab on the side display.

<Note: Move the cursor over the chart to see the full label.>

Week 7: Bus Stop Assignment

Click the image above or click here to access to the website.

In addition to students, we expect frequent usages of the new bus service from low income households and the elderly. In order to check the low income and elderly population around the proposed bus line, two demographic layers (“Median Household Income” and “Population with Age over 60”) were added to the map. Users can see the new layers by clicking the check boxes at the bottom of the left column.

The new demographic layers tell that elderly population and low income households are not so high in the area. Therefore, to facilitate their usages, we need to consider giving incentives, such as discount pass…etc.

Week 4 Bus Map

To see the full website, click on the image above or click here.

The new map allows users to see how the proposed new bus stops will help students to connect to the Metro Gold Line. By checking/un-checking the boxes on the left, users can also see how the new bus stops help residents in the neighborhood to access to different types of businesses and schools. As the GIS layer shows, the median household income in the neighborhood is low. Since low-income household generally relies heavily on public transit, the new bus stops will help improve their mobility as well. Therefore, since the proposed bus stops help the accessibility of students and other residents to schools and businesses, I strongly recommend to offer new bus services in Palms/Sawtelle area.

Week 3: Bus Stop Proposal


You can access to the original map website from here.


This map was created to analyze the relationship between the proposed new bus stops and the existing Metro bus stops. The base map shows the median household income in the proposed area. The darker the neighborhood block is, the higher the median household income is. In addition to bus stops, businesses within the quarter mile of the proposed bus stops are identified.


As it was explained in the first proposal, the area new bus stops will be located is currently  served by municipal buses run by City of Santa Monica (Big Blue Bus) and Culver City (Culver City Bus). Metro bus provides services on near by trunk roads, namely on Santa Monica Blvd. and Venice Blvd., but not between them. Therefore, proposed bus stops will not interfere the operation of the existing Metro bus lines (Local 33 and Rapid 733-for Venice, Rapid 704-for Santa Monica). Rather, they will likely to help bus riders connect to existing Metro services.

The new bus line will not interfere the services provided by municipal bus lines either. Two of the proposed bus stops (No. 1 and No. 2) will be located at the same stops currently served by the two cities. However, the route does not overlap. Therefore, while proposed bus stops enhance the connectivity with different bus lines, they would never provide duplicated services.

Week1: Website Review #2

World Food Programme (WFP) created an interactive hunger map “to provide an insight into the distribution and nature of WFP food procurement activities” (wfp.org). You can access to the website from http://one.wfp.org/country_brief/hunger_map/map/hungermap_popup/map_popup.html. The interface is simple and easy to navigate. The information provided by this map is small, but since it has a very specific purpose unlike the UNDP’s Human Development Report map (check my previous blog post), it works. However, since the system does not work on a same map frame (by zooming in and out) but takes users to different pages when selecting particular region or country, users have less control on the data shown on the map. Thus, from the perspective of “interactive map”, it is not the best product.

The top page of the interactive map looks like below.

The map on the index page already gives information about countries’ economic status. This is because as the statement in the bottom of the page tells, the main purpose of the map is to show that WFP purchases foods from developing countries to tell that it is not only giving, but also nurturing the agriculture sector in developing countries by purchasing foods from them.

The index page also tells users what to do after they digest the first information under the title (“Click on a content for additional information”). So I clicked “Map Guide” on the menu bar to first familiarize myself with the map system.

A text box pops up over the map. Here it states the purpose of the map, the mission of food procurement, and how WFP’s food procurement programme helps developing countries. To provide more background information, it also uses tables and graphs as below.

It also provides an overall trend of where the foods came from by overlaying the information on the map.

Since Africa provides the largest amount of food, I decided to check the breakdown by country by clicking “Africa” on the menu bar on the left hand side. This action did not make the map to zoom into the region, but took me to a different page with a detailed map of Africa. The legend tells what the data communicates to the people. It shows the amount of foods WFP purchased from each country in US$. The data table on the left gives the breakdown of the commodities purchased from Africa.

Again, the map tells the user clearly on what to do next at a place where users most likely pay attention to (above the map). So I clicked on Kenya. This action again did not zoom into the map, but took me to a different page. The new page does not provide information in the map, but in the table, which was a little disappointing.

In sum, the interface was very easy to navigate through. It does not only keep the design simple, but also clearly indicates users what to do after each step. However, by doing so, it also took away users’ freedom to customize the data. Users get the data, but only in the format WFP wants to. If I can suggest any modification, I would suggest them to at least allow users to compare the trend in procurement over time like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hunger map does (users can choose the time period by clicking on the menu bar at the bottom of the page).

Still I like WFP’s map because it kept the purpose of the map very simple. From the one theme (where did the foods come from?), users can view the world from different aspects. In my project, I also would like to keep my issue to one or two so that users would not be lost.

Week1: Website Review #1

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has an interactive GIS website to show the outcomes of the Human Development Report 2009. You can find the website at http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/data/mobility/map/. Compared to the detailed content the actual Human Development Report, the data this GIS map provides is extremely limited. In addition, I found the user interface very difficult to navigate through.

The top page of the interactive map looks like below.

Now a user is viewing the content in the “Introduction” tab. From here, the user clicks one of the three tabs on the top next to the “Introduction” tab. Since I was expecting to see the map by clicking “Interactive World Map” in the menu bar on left, it took me a few seconds to understand where to click after this introduction page.

The following shows the screen when the user chooses the Socio-demographic indicators in the middle tab. The map is blank at this step. Then the user chooses how he/she wants to sort the data by choosing the options in the dropdown arrow boxes. First, the user selects to view the map 1) by country, 2) by region, 3) by Human Development Index (HDI), and 4) by World from the dropdown arrow box on the very left.

I chose to sort the data by country. Then chose “Kenya” in the next dropdown arrow box, and selected to see the level of education of migrants. The result is shown below. This step was fairly easy to command although there is no explanation on what to do. The three dropdown arrow boxes are simple enough to use my intuition to navigate through. The problem surfaced when I got the result.

On the left of the map, there is an explanation on the tendency of migrants’ educational attainment, but irrelevant to Kenya’s data. In this index, it describes how migrants’ educational attainment affects the living quality in the US. When I chose another indicator, it changed to a description of EU. In addition, as you can see in the screen shot, the user cannot read the whole description. There is no scroll bar or hide/unhide button either to read the whole description.

The table below this description shows the data of the index by country, region, HDI, and world. So the user can compare Kenya’s data with that by region, HDI, and world. I assume the percentage shows the average within each category. In the map, because Kenya is selected, the country is lifted up. As the legend tells, the darker the color, the higher the index becomes. However, I cannot tell which group of the population the index counted. For example, did it count those who completed Bachelor’s degree or are graduated from high-schools. I clicked on the “Notes” tab at the bottom of the screen, but it did not give clarification on this issue.

The graph at the bottom of the screen is hard to understand at the first glance. It shows where Kenya is positioned among all countries the data is available. Kenya’s index is circled in black. This figure changes when you move the triangle cursor between the description and the data table to the middle or to “Low” as the screen shot below shows.

Since I did not understand what “Medium” or “Low” in the cursor means, I clicked on “About This Graphic” tab at the bottom of the screen. Then I got the following explanation. This is an explanation on the system of the Interactive World Map in general, but not specifically about the graphic shown on the screen. Thus, there was no explanation about what the cursor means.

The only “pros” I can give to this interactive map’s navigation system is the simple control on the upper left of the map. It is easy to understand even for the first-time users. Especially, it is easy to compare Kenya’s data graphically by pushing the “—“ button in the control to zoom out. After the map is zoomed out, Kenya is still lifted up, thus easy to make cross-country comparisons. I would like to keep this idea in my mind when I am working on the group project.

But in general, compared to the amount of data UNDP has, the technology it uses in this interactive map is too simple. As a result, the data the map shows is incomplete to be used for advanced research projects (it may be useful to give an overview). At least, UNDP should be able to show the data by districts/prefecture when sorting “by country” is selected. Especially when UNDP’s projects are focused on developing countries because it is everybody’s knowledge that human development index has large disparities between rural areas and a capital in developing countries.

In summary, though UNDP’s interactive map is helpful to do cross-regional or cross-country comparisons of the data, the interface is hard to navigate through after sorting out the data. Description of the data is irrelevant to the country/region the user is focusing on, and the tools are hard to understand for what the user should use them for. Therefore, UNDP should clean up the interface to make it more user friendly. And lastly, since UNDP possesses more detailed information of each country, a more advanced technology should be used.