DataAppeal software provides an alternative to complex mapping tools through an easy to use, web-based GIS application that renders typical data files into beautifully designed multi-dimensional maps and datascapes instantly. For architects, landscape architects, urban planners and designers of the built form, the application is a great tool to utilize evidence-based information to expose new site patterns, to provide alternative 3D modes of mapping for communication purposes, and to aid in the initiation of master plan designs.
It’s also a refreshing way to visually engage professional and students with their site-based data.
How It Works
Here’s how the application works. After registering and activating the application at www.dataappeal.com , the designer simply uploads a typical spreadsheet data file that contains latitude and longitude coordinates and the numerical values that corresponds to those coordinates. The application automatically transforms the numbers from the data file into a simple white-toned default map on the digital globe (Google Earth). The designer can than begin to design the new form, and overall presentational look of the datascape or 3D map from a variety of graphical and analytical functions provided in the design control panel (like in 3Ds MAX or PhotoShop).
Designing the Data
The numbers are rendered into beautiful information through a selection various graphic and design features including---a palette of colors, opacity setting, scaling, and model styles .
Basic features are offered for free. The Premium version offers many more advanced graphic and analytical features. For example, the 3D-maps can be further designed by other artistic options like applying custom images or textures around the data models.
In the latest software update, the “Buffer Ring” feature (or simply the “Ring”) is a new function that allows users to spatially visualize the radius distance. This is good to show the walking radius to parks or other specific points of interests. The resulting visuals could help determine the location of new green spaces within certain walking areas. This feature can also be used to show the illuminated radius around street lights, or the audible zone of sirens, or nodal points of interested in a proposed design.
Some other advanced analytical features include the “grouping of similar values” through color intensity shading (offered in the Pro and Appeal versions). This allows viewers to quickly exhibit point of interests. Other options includes layering of multiple data sets and the ability to draw relations between multiple datascapes, for example , layering the pedestrians flow patterns, key nodal points of rest and the amount of cultural venues in the location. If there is a change in date or time in the dataset, the datascape will animate, showcasing points of growth or regression, for example, visualizing density patterns over time, green growth expansion, development, pedestrian flow, event changes, etc.
Different Digital Globe Graphic Canvas
Another interesting feature, targeted for designers of the built environment, is the new digital globe “canvas” options (offered through the Appeal version of the software). This is a selection of new base-map graphic styles, wrapped around the Google Earth globe. Some of the canvas options include black and white toner maps, and watercolor base map and more (map tiles provided by Stamen Design, and data other tiles provided by various sources, MapQuest, Natural Earth, OpenStreetMaps).
The website provides some short tutorials on how to design these multi-dimensional maps: http://www.dataappeal.com/tutorial/
Sharing and Showcasing your Data-Maps
Because the application is web-based, users can access their data and designed maps from any computer. Once a datascape is rendered and saved, designers can share the URL link of their datascape (3D Map or animation) with their colleagues and clients via email or other social media platforms. What is also interesting about this web-based tool, is that, the designer or client can zoom in and out of the datascape or walk through the data model, since the data is rendered in 3D directly on the Google Earth platform. Since it’s compatible with Google Earth, layers like Roads and 3D Buildings can be turned on, and this will the allow the viewer to walk through the datascape on Google Earth. The data can be viewed in all directions, spatially. Designers can showcase and share their datascape on our public “Data Gallery.”
Some types of forces or data
Some data or forces of influence of the city that designers have modeled include: numbers of users in a specific location at during the day, flow pattern densities, usage of open spaces, façade beautification, night- light intensity, cultural venues, width of promenades, market value, environmental assessments, value scoring of hospitality design, amount of cafes or restaurants or on-grade retail space, construction costs per site project, demographic and other geographic patterns.
The co-founder of DataAppeal, Nadia Amoroso, has a background in urban design and landscape architecture and specializes in visual representation. She has a PhD from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and she lectures and teaches on the subject matter. The application is based upon key design principles in her book- The Exposed City: Mapping the Urban Invisibles. In this publication, she refers to inspirational works by well-known American landscape architect James Corner and his advocacy on mapping as a creative process. Amoroso also draws upon other key figures like information architect, Richard Saul Wurman, and the datascaping works of MVRDV.
Her company has worked with a number organizations, municipalities and design firms to help analyse and best visually showcase their data for design, analysis or simply communication purposes. Nadia Amoroso and DataAppeal conduct mapping and datascaping workshops and encourage faculty and students to adopt the application in their design thinking toolkit as means to help make design decisions through evidence-based modelling and as a means to help pre-figure master plan designs.
Upcoming Design Workshop
Amoroso will be teaching a one-week ‘Datascaping and Mapping’ workshop in Las Vegas called-Landscapes of Information: Mapping the Invisibles of Las Vegas. Participants will explore topics on mapping visualization as it relates to contemporary visual representation of the city and its landscape. This one week-course is targeted towards professionals and students in architecture, landscape architecture, art, design, urban design, planning and geography interested in learning about sustainability, urbanism, geo-design, creative mapping, designing with information and using design thinking.
Professionals are eligible for continuing education credits and students can work towards receiving a credit transfer.
Please see this link for more details. http://www.unlvddc.org/landscape-of-information/
Overall, the application is a type of simplified GIS application, which takes it another step further with its intuitive use, visual uniqueness, design capabilities and multidimensional aspects. It puts a visual flare to the site information, while offering further insights to the data. For more information about the application, its use in practice or in the classroom setting, please contact co-founder Nadia Amoroso at [email protected]