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ArchONE: 2015 Article

Public helps create topographic maps of emotions on GIS Day

Posted November 12, 2015

XYZ Map Quad TAMUAs part of Texas A&M University’s annual Geographic Information System Day, the public helped artists, geographers and urban planners map some of the less tangible features of the Bryan/College Station landscape as they worked to create a geospatial record of the region’s emotional topography — a map showing where twin city denizens experience emotional highs and lows.

The project, orchestrated by Austin artist Jennifer Chenoweth with sponsorship from the Texas A&M College of Architecture Diversity Council, took place Nov. 18 on the East Quad of the College Station campus — the grass-covered area between the Langford Architecture Center and the Oceanography and Meteorology Building.

At the GIS Day event, which was featured in The Eagle, participants navigated a gigantic interactive map of the B/CS area painted in chalk on the lawn. They will be equipped with flags, color-coded to represent specific emotions, to plant in the areas on the map where those emotions were experienced.

Data gathered at this and future events will be compiled and added to data gathered online to create “The XYZ Atlas: The Experience Map of Bryan/College Station.” This creative mapping project and art installation, similar to Chenoweth’s previous undertaking, “The Hedonic Map of Austin,” is a crowd-sourced multimedia project that allows people to share stories and the locations where they had significant experiences. Once gathered, the data could provide a better understanding of the Bryan/College Station area by geospatially revealing how the cities are perceived.

“The XYZ Atlas records the influence the region has on its residents, and creates a community’s identity through a shared sense of place,” said Chenoweth. “It’s an interactive, public art piece consisting of people’s collective experiences.”


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