Paths of Desire
This project has been inspired both by a desire to investigate opportunities for exploring the role of cartography in a digital age and consider ways of encouraging users of cities to deviate from their normal paths and flows and discover ‘hidden gems’ within the city as a result.
2 Commercial Partners
7 Academic Researchers
Cartography has traditionally comprised both science and art in order to create beautiful maps and whilst it has always incorporated advances in technology, the emergence of on-line mapping services has produced a dominant map aesthetic that serves the very general usability and utility requirements of turn-by-turn urban navigation. In this project we investigated the opportunities for the creation of aesthetically pleasing bespoke digital maps for personal mobile applications that provide different representations of the landscape.
This project builds upon the notion of ‘paths of desire’ or the practice of pedestrians usually taking the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. Whilst this practice may be efficient, it means that many special locations within cities may lie undiscovered. Therefore the project considered the creation of personalised dynamic digital maps that offer users the opportunity to deviate from their normal routes by changing the aesthetics of the map in real time, as the user navigates around the city.
We believe this research into the creation of dynamic, or even animated maps, has much to offer the creative industries such that cartography may once again become an important area of practice.