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The Battalion: 2016 Article by Emma Whitfield - XYZ Atlas
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The Battalion: 2016 Article by Emma Whitfield

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The Battalion: 2016 Article by Emma Whitfield

Interactive map ties emotion to location

By Emma Whitfield | Posted February 2016

Build Day BattalionIn hopes of exploring different emotional experiences in Bryan-College Station, Austin artist Jennifer Chenoweth showcased her interactive map, XYZ Atlas, at the College of Architecture’s 2016 Open Data Build Day.

The artist’s work was featured during a 24-hour competition Friday and Saturday, in which participants were tasked with illustrating problems regarding diversity at Texas A&M and in the Bryan-College Station area.

Through a series of six challenges, participants were told to use data from public agencies, like the U.S. Census, to spatially demonstrate problems chosen by the College of Architecture’s Diversity Council. Participants were then asked to propose solutions to the problems based on their findings. Build Day awarded a total of $5,000 in prize money for solutions.

Participants were encouraged by Chenoweth to explore her project themselves, specifically to see if they could utilize her map in their challenges.

Chenoweth laid out a large scale map of the Bryan-College Station region in the Architectural Quad, between the Liberal Arts Building and the Administration Building. Participants were given colored flags that represented emotions such as fear, amazement or disgust, and were told to place the flags on the map in locations where they had memorable experiences related to corresponding emotions. After the data was collected, Chenoweth turned it into a color-coded topographical map.

Some of the challenges presented at Build Day related to how to increase the popularity of a local African American museum and how to solving the issue of unequal representation in the Bryan Police Department.

“What I love about this project is that it’s totally outside of class and race, so everybody’s experiences matter,” Chenoweth said. “And try to do community outreach and activities so that people could give us anonymous survey data, so that they feel safe communicating about where they’ve had good and bad experiences in B-CS, and create the ‘topomap’ of everybody’s experiences is B-CS.”

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Jennifer Chenoweth