Interactive Digital Map
Jingya Wu, Jordan Faith, Lucas Gregory, Sienna Mosher
Antigua has a rich history that goes largely unshared and unappreciated to the general public. Creating an accessible way for people around the country to learn more about Antigua’s history in an interactive, in depth, and exciting way would raise awareness about the history of Antigua, focusing on their historic sugar mills. A good start would be to create a digital map with plenty of interactivity and facts about the country. For these purposes you could use a modified google map, or a paper map representation, that then allows a user to click through each location and bring up a window displaying all relevant information. This map would act as the homepage and navigation bar of the website which would then branch off into the other pages which would be necessary to convey as much information as is required. There is a large amount of information that must be conveyed in a meaningful way, to this end the site has to be easily navigated and understood while still being interesting to the user.
An interactive map would be a good plan to keep a user absorbed while still letting them achieve the goal of learning about Antigua. This solution would allow the user to navigate a detailed map, either decorative or realistic via google maps, that would let the user navigate to each point of interest and learn about its significance to the local area. These points could be marked via symbols or dots to represent what their significance is, then upon clicking on the marker the user would see a popup that displays minimal information with the option to go to a location specific page to read a more in depth summary. Such an implementation would allow the users to get drawn into exploring the map and make the act of learning an interesting experience. For easier navigation at a later date there could also be the option to lookup locations by name, or by using a list of all points organized by historical purpose. Curating an immersive historical journey through Antigua is the best way to get users familiar with its geography and history.
Through either satellite imagery or a decorative map, such as that employed in a related Mount Vernon interactive map, it would possible to easily navigate the site’s information. The basic information and the expanded pages could each be their own individual resources, meaning that an external database would not be necessary for initial implementation. As noted above each point of interest could trigger a popup window with the most basic information for that location. It could then allow the user to follow a hyperlink to another web page, either internal or external to the main site, where they could do more in depth research. Plugins such as GMaps or D3js allow for large amount of customization and include support for HTML overlays that would make user interaction a seamless process. Other tools, such as Kartograph, allow for large scale customization including custom maps, data points, click structures, animations, and more.
As for future maintenance, each point of interest could be edited on an as needed basis directly through the source code. If any edits are required, or a new point is added on the map, it would only need minor adjustments to go live on the existing structure. This alleviates the need for a robust backend and instead allows for full dedication to a purposeful front end to fully accomplish the goals of this project. This also decreases the upkeep load on the client and removes unnecessary costs for maintaining an extensive database linked to the website. With this model a database could be kept locally or online in the cloud, and data could be pulled whenever required for minor updates.
Risks and Rewards
This map would allow users to learn the history of Antigua through a fun and interactive medium, especially if we utilized tools for animations and real time inputs. There is some possibility of historical error about the area; however, this would be left to those maintaining and updating the website, not the initial developers. Impact from this service would be more niche than widespread, but would still provide useful tools to someone interested in learning about Antigua and the surrounding areas. Such a tool could also be extrapolated to surrounding areas and applied to more locations worldwide.
A project as important as preserving history needs to have careful attention paid to it. A solution such as the one listed above would allow for growth and iterations on the design, encouraging the continued expansion of facts and corrections of data as the need arises. The owner would be provided with a set of tools that would fully meet their needs and allow them to have full authority of how the history is represented in the most meaningful way possible via an administrative view of the map. This project would be an interesting challenge to build and make sure that the user’s interface and experience meet the highest expectations of the client.