What is AIM?
AIM (Accessible Information Mapping) stems from the project Inclusive Maps. Ute Benz and Sylvia Kautz were co-authors under the supervision of Prof Boris Müller from the design department of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.
The overall goal of this project is to show the world two things; A map can improve the lives of many people by providing sophisticated data that can be consumed in a easy and efficient way. In addition to that, we believe, that not only people with impairments can benefit from this. Seeing on what data and visualizations certain groups of people rely may makes architects and urban planners more empathic when it comes to building spaces for humans.
How about you’ll be able to see where all the trees are, making you sneeze in the spring time?
You are not alone
Consider the things that are common to all human beings as we interact with the world around us. We all are motivated to achieve something greater than our momentary tasks. We all build relationships that change over time. We all have limits to our abilities – physical, social, emotional and cognitive. How can we design to embrace these universal things that make us human, but also create solutions that are highly adaptive to an individual person?
There are large groups of people that have little use of conventional maps. They have different needs and expectations concerning their environment that aren’t reflected in maps at all (so far). The cause might be impairments, or temporarily limited mobility, but literally anyone that isn’t a car driver doesn’t have full advantage of conventional maps.
Let’s consider walking impairments and the quality of pavement in a city
As there are no objective maps, we don’t believe that there can be a map that caters all the needs of all humans out there. We see the solution in different visualisations for different needs that can even be combined to achieve a truly useful map.
Award winning research
Inclusive Maps won an award for the best student CityVis Visualization at the Habitat 3 conference in Quito, Ecuador. This conference was organized by the UN Habitat. The aim of this conference is to determines the future of urban development globally for the next 20 years. Read the beginners guide to the New Urban Agenda.
For us, the research team working on AIM, this is huge news. Not only we recognize that there is a growing interest in this particular topic. We also got useful feedback through this competition. Since the members of the jury are all well known characters in the world of data visualization we can rely on the feedback they gave us.
The competition: http://cityvis.io/competition.html
The conference: http://www.habitatxchange.org/
The research blog: https://accessinfomap.blogspot.de/