Mapping your Stories

work in progress, aligning the maps. Not all maps are equal ... and some maps are less equal than others.
work in progress, aligning the maps. Not all maps are equal ... and some maps are less equal than others.

I've just uploaded our first set of visual maps to the site... a map is now generated for each of your Stories... here is my story. Simple, isn't it?

(By the way, if you can't see the map you probably need to install the latest version of Flash Player. It's freee, and it will only take a minute or two)

At the top of the map you can see my 'portrait': which shows who I am, where I'm from, and what I do.

Across the map are spread the locations in Folkestone I have a connection with. Or in my case the Location - the Folkestonomy Float (I admit, I have more connections than this, but Andreas was hurrying me back to London, and I got flustered doing my mapping...).

On the bottom right are the 'reasons' that people connect to their stories. Some of these are connected to locations, and some are not connected to locations. You can identify which story an item is in by it's colour.

So there you go, have a look, and see what you think.

In the coming weeks we'll be adding more maps onto the site, which show different sets of connections, which will allow you to see how folkestone, and the triennial, are connected out into the rest of the world, and how the spaces we've identified within folkestone are connected to each other (other than by roads and pavement...)

At the moment we are cleaning up a lot of the data we've gathered. Due to the larger than expected number of failures of our 'add-ons'* we've had problems with data being getting corrupted upon import, and so we're going through looking at all of your story photos and making sure the stories we have are correct, and trying to tie up any missing photographs to the stories... but pleae let us know if you spot any problems with your stories.

*word of advice, don't use cheap 1/4" jack plugs!

They're maps, but not as you know them.

Regular visitors to the site may notice that we've added a couple of sections to the left hand navigation: Map Items and Stories. These are my first steps in visualising all of the data we have, and the connections between them, so that we can create further maps over time.

The map items are all the plug-in items we have on the float. Browsing through the lists of items you can see how each item is connected to others, through connections Kathrin mapped out prior to the start of the Triennial.

On top of all the relations between the plug-in's there are your stories. These are the connections that are inferred by the mapping we make at the float. Each story is split up into a 'portrait' and a number of stories. The portrait reflects where the visitor we've mapped have come from and how they ended up at the triennial, the stories are how they are connected to the cultural spaces in Folkestone.

It's taken a while to get these up due to a number of teething difficulties with the whole setup - it's quite a complex system and this is the first version of it. We will now be uploading new stories onto the site each day, along with photographs, and if you've already come and told us your story you can search for yourself if you know your story ID, or if you gave us a name you can search by your name (or your friend's names).

Please let us know if you see anything wrong with your mapping: there are quite a few issues with some of them from the early days, and we've not been able to attach images to mappings as reliably as we'd like to, so there may be some missing or some attached incorrectly. A quick email letting us know the Story ID ( eg m48625ab2 ) and what's wrong and we'll get on with updating it.

This might not look like a map, in the traditional sense, at the moment, but if you start browsing through the links you'll start to see how places are interconnected by people's stories, how certain places are more fundamental to stories than others. These connections are a map, albeit represented like a text based adventure game on an 80's computer. My ability to see the map in my head probably comes from too many hours spent playing them as a kid.

My task now is to start to gather all of the data we have hear into some form of visualisation. The first step of this is for me to start visualising each of the stories we've been given. Once I can see the spread of those I'll be able to see how we can clearly map the relationships between the stories.

So, please keep checking back to see new bit's appear, and if you want to be kept updated of changes subscribe to out mailing list or our blog's RSS feed.

Tag It!

I picked up one of the final collector signs from Public Works today, and brought it home along with some strange looks I got as I carried it past the the hordes outside of various pubs. The final part in place and it's all working well, save for the circuit being wired anti-clockwise, though that's easily solved.

Putting it all together

It's neater than it looks, honest guv.
It's neater than it looks, honest guv.

After a long block soldering, unsolder, re-soldering, I've finally managed to get all of the data collector box together, and this is what it looks like before it's boxed up. I've soldered the extra components and controllers onto an Arduino 'ProtoShield'. I made a few silly mistakes, but they were easily fixed.

The protoshield means I can easily replace the various components if there is a failure, especially as the cables are all attached via screw down terminal blocks. The code for the Arduino board is pretty much complete, but I want to do some thorough testing before I finally load it onto the microcontroller without the Arduino Bootloader.

Start & Stop

Well, I found it exciting

A small milestone, seeing the start/stop buttons work in context as I do final tests to the prototype

A third and final prototype..

This is the final circuit in all it's glory, on a breadboard. With the box being started behind it.
This is the final circuit in all it's glory, on a breadboard. With the box being started behind it.

I've made the final prototype for the data collector, complete with stat-stop switches and a status indicator LED. It's much much simpler than I expected when I started this project, and that can only be a good thing in my book. Now to get soldering and get it all into the box, which I picked up from Public Works today.

Whilst I was at Public Works earlier Andreas showed me some of the signs, and I also picked up the final box for the data collector, and started fitting it out.

Prototype 2 (or 3?)

It's much the same as the last one, only better soldered.
It's much the same as the last one, only better soldered.

Having waited for the Tirna Electronics to mount the one-wire controller chips from Maxim I've inserted their chip into the circuit and was more confident that it's my dodgy code that's the problem reading the one-wire network, so I got back into the code and now have it working, a set of code for searching and manipulating a 1-Wire network via IC2 and a DS2482-100 One Wire Controller... the next step is to swap in a DS2482-800 and try and read multiple inputs.

Lots of Bits

Lots of Parts - or toys as my partner calls them
Lots of Parts - or toys as my partner calls them

Wow, loads of stuff just arrived for me for building the controllers: Here's what came from where:

A couple more Arduino Boards and some spare ATMega processor chips from

I've got a programmer for the ATMega processors from ebay seller Sure Electronics in china: £15+shipping vs £100 in the UK. I hope it works...

The Maxim One-Wire controller ships have been soldered onto mounting boards [incredibly quickly] by Tirna Electronics

There is some more RAM for the MacBook from Offtek

A nice box mounting USB connector from Maplin

And the start stop switches which Andreas sourced from I don't know where.

Application Design

I've come up with a final application design I'm happy with and confident will work. Now to start implementing it all.

There will be numerous components in the system, and it's a pretty loose description, but it will do the job.

Data Collector

This will be based in the collector box, running a piece of software on an Arduino base ATMEGA Micro Controller. The program will check for presses of the start button, signalling a listener application on the connected MacBook that the mapping has started. It will then wait for the stop button to be pressed, and collect the data from across the 8 wire networks it can be attached to, and transmit that information to the main computer along with a stop signal.

Listener Application

This will be a background application on the MacBook, which will listen for signals for the data controller. Upon a 'start' it will create a new mapping, and grab co-ordinates for the floats location from the GPS device connected to the macbook, as well as logging the start time and creating a unique ID for the map. When the stop signal is recieved it will log the information gather from the various circuits into a database.

As we won't have a 'live' internet connection on the float this application will also listen for an active internet connection and upon receipt start synchronising data with he primary server were the website lives, uploading new maps and downloading any data that's changed on the website.

Display Application

This will be an application that will run on the laptop on the float, and also on the website for the project. It will work slightly differently for each context, but visually will be mostly identical. It will display the latest map available, as well as allowing exploration of the maps and augmentation of the data collected.

Web Synchronisation

This will be a backend application that will be triggered by the listener application, and handle the details of synchronising data with the main server.

Another Prototype

Fortunately you can't see my bad soldering...
Fortunately you can't see my bad soldering...

i've been playing around building the next prototype for capturing the data from the network. I started playing with the 1 wire libraries that are available for the Arduino, but wasn't getting very far with them, and I'm still somewhat wary of the bit banging approach this takes. If my electronics/physics wasn't quite so rusty I may be more confident.

To that end I've taken on board a different challenging task. I soldered one of the very small surface mount packaged DS2482-100 that Maxim sent me as a sample onto a mounting board from eP board. The soldering is not a task for the feint hearted, and I hope it works. The trouble is that I'm not sure whether it's my dodgy soldering, or something else, which is preventing me from talking to the chip.

I guess I'll just have to carry on getting my head round the [url=²C
I²C and one-wire protocols, in the hope that I can be sure it's one thing. An interesting and challenging task.

The reason I've opted for this route is that I can use the Arduino to control start/stop signals, light a status LED, and collect and send data to our MacBook. Finally I intend to swap out the DS2482-100 for a DS2482-800 in the final build to allow up to 8 one-wire networks, for better contextualising the data we gather.


a public works project. site design and build by dorian