Announcing Secret City 1.5 Rollout

As the Secret City project continues to evolve, we at Ft. Awesome are looking forward to rolling out the next iteration of this project in two weeks time. To summarize the changes we will make to our current project:

1.      Migrating the Secret City game to its own page, along with transit information

2.      Combining social networks to give a full picture of what is happening in MacArthur Park in the present day:

a. Twitter: Geolocated tweets around the project site to give users a sense of      what’s hot in the area.

b. Foursuare:  To give users an idea of what general businesses are trending in the area. In other words, where are people checking in most ?

c.Yelp: To give users a sense of the area’s best restaurants.

d. Instagram: Allows (theoretically) up-to-the-minute posting of geolocated photos around our project area. This will sidestep the lag in posting photos that Flickr imposes.

e. Flickr: To allow users to post historical photos around the project site, as well as to share present day photos. In addition to historical photos from around Westlake/MacArthur Park, we have also seeded additional historical photos for other locations around Los Angeles such as Venice and parts of San Fernando Valley.

f. We have opted to forego adding in YouTube functionality since sorting for relevance was proving difficult and we feel that posting video via twitter links can be equally effective without cluttering the map.

3. Our demographic layers are now active! Users will now be able to see how the demographics of the Westlake area have evolved over the last 20 years.

4. Our page will now have a search bar that allows users to search for various zip codes.

Mockups

Rather than compose new storyboards/wireframes, we have begun to play around with some of the functionality as actual websites.  For a peak at the main website, please consult the image below or visit the test link  (link to yohman.com/students/apudlin/secretcity_final.html).

As you can see, there is now an additional tab at the top of the page, which will link to the game site. When you click on that link, you will be taken to a new game-specific page (link to yohman.com/students/apudlin/secretcity_final2.html):

We are also currently in the process of implementing an accordion-style menu. One challenge that we are facing is that our menu will have an accordion within an accordion. We aren’t quite sure how well that will work yet.

Although the accordion is not part of the site yet, we have worked on initial designs similar to the image below:

Challenges

As we have worked through new functionalities, we have also faced a few challenges.

1.API Implementation

a. Yelp: We are still struggling with the daily limit on calls to the Yelp API. We have requested an increase in this limit from Yelp, but we have not

b. Foursquare: Adding general check-ins in the area is possible, but limiting displayed results to the “hottest” businesses has proven difficult

c. Instagram: functionality is limited by the frequency of postings. A site which uses instagram in a way that is similar to our intended use(mapstagram.com) shows that there are only 2 pictures within 5 miles of Westlake. Should we focus on only 1 photo-sharing site, even though there are limitations to how quickly photos appear on our site?

2. Older census tract shapefiles: The size, position and shape of census tracts has not been static over the years. While we have data going back several decades, we do not have associated shape files of census tracts from those decades. When older data is added to our current project, gaps appear where the tracts have changed shapes. Is there a workaround to this kind of problem?

Announcing Plans for Secret City 1.5!

As the Secret City project continues to evolve, we at Ft. Awesome are looking forward to rolling out the next iteration of this project in two weeks time. To summarize the changes we will make to our current project:

1.      Migrating the Secret City game to its own page, along with transit information

2.      Combining social networks to give a full picture of what is happening in MacArthur Park in the present day:

a. Twitter: Geolocated tweets around the project site to give users a sense of      what’s hot in the area.

b. Foursuare:  To give users an idea of what general businesses are trending in the area. In other words, where are people checking in most ?

c.Yelp: To give users a sense of the area’s best restaurants.

d. Instagram: Allows (theoretically) up-to-the-minute posting of geolocated photos around our project area. This will sidestep the lag in posting photos that Flickr imposes.

e. Flickr: To allow users to post historical photos around the project site, as well as to share present day photos. In addition to historical photos from around Westlake/MacArthur Park, we have also seeded additional historical photos for other locations around Los Angeles such as Venice and parts of San Fernando Valley.

f. We have opted to forego adding in YouTube functionality since sorting for relevance was proving difficult and we feel that posting video via twitter links can be equally effective without cluttering the map.

3. Our demographic layers are now active! Users will now be able to see how the demographics of the Westlake area have evolved over the last 20 years.

4. Our page will now have a search bar that allows users to search for various zip codes.

Mockups

Rather than compose new storyboards/wireframes, we have begun to play around with some of the functionality as actual websites.  For a peak at the main website, please consult the image below or visit the test link  (link to yohman.com/students/apudlin/secretcity_final.html).

As you can see, there is now an additional tab at the top of the page, which will link to the game site. When you click on that link, you will be taken to a new game-specific page (link to yohman.com/students/apudlin/secretcity_final2.html):

We are also currently in the process of implementing an accordion-style menu. One challenge that we are facing is that our menu will have an accordion within an accordion. We aren’t quite sure how well that will work yet.

Although the accordion is not part of the site yet, we have worked on initial designs similar to the image below:

Challenges

As we have worked through new functionalities, we have also faced a few challenges.

1.API Implementation

a. Yelp: We are still struggling with the daily limit on calls to the Yelp API. We have requested an increase in this limit from Yelp, but we have not

b. Foursquare: Adding general check-ins in the area is possible, but limiting displayed results to the “hottest” businesses has proven difficult

c. Instagram: functionality is limited by the frequency of postings. A site which uses instagram in a way that is similar to our intended use(mapstagram.com) shows that there are only 2 pictures within 5 miles of Westlake. Should we focus on only 1 photo-sharing site, even though there are limitations to how quickly photos appear on our site?

2. Older census tract shapefiles: The size, position and shape of census tracts has not been static over the years. While we have data going back several decades, we do not have associated shape files of census tracts from those decades. When older data is added to our current project, gaps appear where the tracts have changed shapes. Is there a workaround to this kind of problem?