AADProject Mapping

From apc.au wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
CDNlogo.png

A component of the Arts and Disabilities research project conducted by CDN. Prepared by Andrew Garton, apc.au in response to briefing sessions with John Smithies, CDN, and Grant McHerron, apc.au.

Contents

Introduction

The Arts & Disabilities research project is aiming to produce a 'multimedia product' that provides up to date information of arts programs for and by people with disabilities in Victoria. The text and graphic interface will be based on local government areas and postcodes and provide access to a database of arts and disabilities information (eg. events, announcements, special services) across the state.

This document provides recommendations towards the development of a proof-of-concept product. This would include both a map and data entry interface. Program managers would enter activities data that would populate a database that is accessed via the interactive map.

AADProject Mapping is an "outline" document prepared as requested by the Cultural Development Network. As such, it is more in keeping within the context of a discussion paper than a detailed consultancy report. The intention is to assist in identifying available technologies and resources towards a more detailed research endeavour.

The recommendations provided in this document are based on a summary scan of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) options, prior knowledge and a survey of existing arts & disabilities resources. Where applicable, integration of existing tools and services will be recommended. They consist of options:

  1. Custom built - Creation of prototype from custom built interface and database;
  2. Off-the-shelf - Use of off-the-shelf open source products that would integrate with other web based services (eg. Google Maps Australia, RSS readers, Facebook, etc.);
  3. Existing resources - Pool content and other state-wide efforts into a single, established web application (eg. Eventful).

Recommendations are provided in a breakdown of Options in section 2. Each is based on technology options listing pros and cons, estimated costs. Featured options include the development of a custom Google Map, creation of a low cost image map as interface to a database, and a vector based / Flash map employing open source maps and tools.

Note, with the emphasis on the use of open source applications, that which supports a culture of openness and sharing within the information and knowledge commons, it is expected that the final product be released under an appropriate open licence too. It is often a pre-requisite of use that new applications are made available under non-commercial, share-alike provisions.

Requirements

Navigable interactive map

It is proposed that an interactive map be used as the interface to a data base of events and activities.

The navigable, interactive graphical map will be comprised of:

  • Navigable via Victorian Local Government boundaries;
  • Optional postcode search;
  • Content served by an underlying database (See Appendix for data entry requirements);
  • Content is to be self-managed by organisations and program managers.

Options

Tools and technology options. Includes pros and cons.

Google Maps

Google Maps presents the most compelling option. It not only incorporates cutting-edge, web based GIS tools, a ready-made data base and a vast suite of open source applications are available.

  • Google is represented in Australia with an office in Sydney. APC has had contact with Google in the past and Andrew Garton had recently interviewed Google spokesperson, Jessica Powell. In addition apc.au collaborated with Google Australia on Document Freedom Day. Such proximity to the organisation could seed a possible collaboration should this be required.

For further information, review the Google Maps Case Studies.

Pros
  • All mapping requirements may be met with existing tools provided by Google and third-party open source developers.
  • No costs for hosting, mapping/GIS/database software development.
  • Budget otherwise spent on development could be leveraged for custom development of a Google Maps application and content development for it.
  • Existing tools may be customised for personalised use with a range of add-ons supporting Google Earth and mobile devices. See Google Maps User Guide for more information]
  • Supports RSS. Integration with third-party information providers supporting RSS and standard field sets can be incorporated into the project.
  • Integration with third-party social networking tools is possible. For example, an Arts & Disabilities Google Map for Victoria may be added as a feature of any organisational or individual's website, should their site support either RSS or the appropriate application plugin architecture.
  • Although not well documented, Google Maps does provide accessibility features.
Cons
  • Data entry requires all participants to maintain a Google Account, however this is not required to view and interact with any Google Map product.
Estimated costs

Costs would entail:

  • Detailed research of custom application of Google Maps
  • Custom application development
  • Development / integration of map with a web site
  • Web build
  • Deployment
  • Testing
  • Change requests/debugging
  • Public release

AUD $15 - $20,000.00 (Does not include software licenses nor additional hosting costs should this be required)

Note, these are estimated costs only. apc.au recommends a more thorough analysis of costs and options beyond the scope of this briefing paper.

Information design and data entry has not been added to these estimated costs.

Image map

A map of Victoria with Local Government boundaries would be created as an "image map", essentially a simple graphic with scripted, click-able elements. Each boundary would appear as the cursor rolls over the map. Clicking on a boundary area would take the user to a web page with up-to-date information, events and activities throughout the Shire.

Pros
  • Existing local government boundary maps may be used.
  • The interface would be relatively low in cost to produce.
  • Custom database can be built with open source tools (primarily the database) available to the aadproject web server.
  • Search by postcode can be custom built as a search query of the database.
  • An image map and the information found through it should comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessibility Guidelines for images and image maps.
  • A listed, text only version of Council boundaries / Shires can be provided for text to speech readers.
Cons
  • Integration with a database would increase costs, most likely requiring a custom database and forms to be designed, tested and deployed.
  • Results would produce a listing of Shire-wide content only. It would not be possible to use the map to find information from, for example, specific suburbs, cities and towns.
  • Changes to Council boundaries would require a manual re-drawing of the image map. A maintenance budget would be required to ensure the product not fall into redundancy.
Estimated costs

Costs would entail:

  • Graphic design
  • Database design
  • Form design and publishing
  • Web build
  • Deployment
  • Testing
  • Change requests/debugging
  • Public release

AUD $8 - $10,000.00

Note, these are estimated costs only. apc.au recommends a more thorough analysis of costs and options beyond the scope of this briefing paper.

Information design and data entry has not been added to these estimated costs.

Flash

A map constructed in Flash would produce a far more designed, branded product, but would also require integration with a custom database. It would be costlier to produce, however a number of open source initiatives and products integrate GIS data within Flash / vector based maps.

Pros
  • Existing local government boundary maps may be used, although they would have to be re-drawn (as vectors) for use within Flash.
  • Custom database can be built for Toy Satellite's D3 exhibition, designed for integration with GIS data, may be re-purposed for this project.
  • Integration with an open source tool such as DIY Map may be entirely possible.
  • Full GIS coordinates for major cities in Australia may be downloaded from either World Gazetter or the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
  • Search by postcode can be custom built as a search query of the database.
  • A listed, text only version of Council boundaries / Shires can be provided for text to speech readers.
Cons
  • Accessibility has always been an issue with Flash. Recent versions support limited accessibility options in response to recommendations and techniques provided by the W3C.
  • Database integration may also require use of Macromedia MX media server requiring a software license and additional hosting costs.
Estimated costs

Costs would entail:

  • Graphic design
  • Database design
  • Form design and publishing
  • Web build
  • Deployment
  • Testing
  • Change requests/debugging
  • Public release

AUD $15 - $20,000.00 (Does not include software licenses nor additional hosting costs)

Note, these are estimated costs only. apc.au recommends a more thorough analysis of costs and options beyond the scope of this briefing paper.

Information design and data entry has not been added to these estimated costs.

Ning

An entirely different alternative to those set out above would be the creation of a unique "social networking" tool with Ning. Ning is an entirely customisable tool that one can use to build a unique website that employs a vast set of social networking tools offering extensive aggregation possibilities.

Pros
  • Comes ready built with required database(s)
  • Strong feature set and flexible integration with other social networking sites
  • Integrates features, or widgets, from other sites such as GoogleMaps
  • Low design and maintenance costs
Cons
  • It is not possible to integrate a map interface.
Estimated costs

Costs would entail:

  • Custom design and branding
  • Setup and testing
  • Training

AUD$5000.00 - $7000.00

  • Maintenance and hosting
    • Remove Ning Promotion Links = USD$7.95 per month
    • Remove or add own adds = USD$19.95 per month
    • Use Your Own Domain Name = USD$4.95 per month per domain

USD$452.20/yr AUD$635.40 (as of 6 October)

  • By default, Ning provides a quota of 10GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth. This is a network with approximately 5,000 photos or 500 videos. Purchase additional units of 10GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth for $9.95 per month, per unit.
    • Additional Storage and Bandwidth = USD$9.95 per month per unit
Further reading

Recommend further reading:

Data analysis

Analysis of input data and usage of the product.

Options

The only option, at the time of writing, would be an analysis of webstats. Such statistics are already available from the AADProject web site.

http://aadproject.info/stats/

Recommendations

A more detailed analysis of the use of the database would require further research with a set of required outcomes (eg. what kind of information is being sought and how would it be used).

Appendix

Data entry requirements

The Arts and Disabilities events and activities database would consist of:

  • User / organisation data;
  • Events and activities, dates, location and access details;
  • Special services.

Content is collected and maintained by way of the following process:

  • Invitations for participation are emailed to organisations and program providers. A link to the sign-up form is included.
  • Participants login or register a new account for the organisation/programme manager.
  • After login/sign-up they enter a profile page listing their current activities, events and special system announcements.
  • A link to add new events and activities is available.
  • To add a new event they enter a description of the event, type, where it is, dates, how to get there, and any special information.
  • As the date of the event expires the registered email address gets a reminder that the data will soon be out of date.
  • Date specific events will expire at the set expiry date unless otherwise amended.

Map resources

Online mapping tools

Information services

Arts Access

http://www.artsaccess.com.au/

Arts Access provides access to arts and cultural activity for people who are disadvantaged, including people with a disability. This includes Connect which contains Art Directories (reference guides for arts based activities, classes, workshops, etc.) for each region of Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Disability Online

http://www.disability.vic.gov.au/

An information service established by the Victorian State Government. It includes an Events calendar.

Infoxchange Disability News

http://www.disabilitynews.infoxchange.net.au/

An online news service that includes a fee for service notice board. Items expire automatically after 30 days, or according to a pre-set expiry date. No fields specific to location are included.

This service has been developed with the Infoxchange product, ESP, which claims to deliver "web content to web sites, databases and CD-ROM's". However, no support for RSS is provided.

Eventfull

http://eventful.com/

An online and free events database that integrates social networking sites (eg. Facebook, MySpace), mobile services and Google Maps.

Although not an map based interface one can access events and activities by:

  • establishing a regional group;
  • searching, for instance, by event, venue, groups or users;
  • location searches are also possible by postcode, city, state and country.

References

Urban Tapestries

Mobile devices, wireless technologies and public authoring projects for local government and civil society. Prototypes included the use of these tools to assist in mobility through urban environments.

  • Proof of concept mobile mapping / public authoring tool Animation

Publications

Personal tools