Kevin Byrne’s Presentation: Graticules & Google – Online Learning About Sustainability
Graticules & Google:
Online Learning About Sustainability
2006 – WSD & CPIT: June,
IGU: July 6
J. Kevin Byrne
Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Minneapolis College of Art +
Design (MCAD) by the numbers
• graticule: near 45th parallel
• 120 years old this year
• 700+ students
• 3 core degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts,
M.F.A., & Science Baccalaureate
• 2 certificates offered, Sustainable
Design Certificate Program is one
MCAD’s Sustainable Design
Certificate Program (SDCP)
• entering its 3rd year
• $ competitive: MCAD 1900USD/course
(3 credits) vs. BAC 2900; n.b: caveats
• if accrue 18 credits, get the certificate
• 7 students on certificate track now
SDCP cont’d numbers
• typical course in 2006 enrolls 8
students, trend is up
• ratio is now 2:1 MCAD degree vs.
community enrollees, hope is to
reverse that ratio
• current course management software
system is Blackboard Release 6.3.1
What are the Required Courses
for the Certiﬁcate?
Elements of Sustainability: A Foundation (1 credit)
Sustainability or Else (3 credit)
Framing the Big Picture: Systems
Thinking & Life Cycle Analysis (3 credit)
Innovation and Sustainability (3 credit)
Making the Business Case or
Green Design Tools (LCA) (3 credit)
What Other Topics
and Electives are Offered?
Graphic Design for the 21st Century:
As If Life Matters
Product Design: Natural Inspiration
Moving Beyond Recycling
Packaging Quick Fix
Green Living/Eco Footprints
Making Sustainability Visible
What is sustainability?
• Our childrens’ future: don’t mortgage it
• Ideas & resources must flow in circles
• Sustainable design: plan & make stuff
Views from two courses
• Sustainability or Else
• Mapping for Sustainability
Sustainability or Else numbers
• introductory course, 3 credits
• first taught spring term 2005
• 14 weeks
• 3 core assignments and 3 quizzes
• 2 textbooks
• 1 guest (from Sweden)
Mapping for Sustainability
• first taught spring term 2006, 3 credits
• inquiries from 8 countries + 5 states
• 3:1 ratio degree to community enrollees
• 14 weeks long
• 9 assignments and 6 quizzes
• 3 textbooks
• 2 guest critics (Peru, Ohio)
m4s in brief
from syllabus: “Over 500 maps are
delivered every second via the Internet,
estimates a Nebraska researcher. In this
course we examine how the power of
spatial data, art, and design can help us
plan and visualize more sustainable
m4s in brief cont’d
• work guidelines
• we push the envelope with lots of
mottos, here’s one: not just hacking
maps with Internet GIS, but hopeful
maps for more sustainable
m4s basic structure
• first third of course: satellite imagery +
maps given to – or found by – students
who then composite them in Photoshop
• middle third: maps generated via GIS
web-servers (mostly Arc-IMS) then
composited with other items
m4s structure cont’d
• final third demanded community
outreach: first, experts from the Twin
Cities community were interviewed;
then neighborhood respondents were
surveyed and results mapped
• sampler of assignments, then ends
with mini-folio by one student of his
last assignment, leads to Google map
m4s_assgt_wkVI.pdf – How Internet Maps Might Help Target Sustainable Dev’t Campaigns 1
Week VI – March 13 Overview: Internet mapping gets powerful when you bring GIS principles to bear with more complex
questions. This week we spend more time with the ESI [Environmental Sustainability Index] ArcIMS server then ponder
how we might target a sustainable development campaign for particular audiences. Read: Communicating Sustainability -
How to produce effective public campaigns; study for ten point quiz; assgt VI; get + give feedback.
What is due when: Sat, Mar 18, by 6:00 pm , complete and post assgt VI
Use GIS map-derived information you research at global and national scales to frame a design campaign
designed to improve sustainable development.
Go to the ESI Map Viewer is via this URL: http://maps.ciesin.columbia.edu/esi/
Click on the hyperlink titled Components Viewer. You will arrive at the Map Viewer. Preset layer is Environmental
Sustainability Index and a map is shown of that component.
Think of a component as a group of indicators, or a holistic indicator of indicators. What useful components might be
available to you to help research your objective?
Two good candidates might be Social and Institutional Capacity as well as well as Ecological Footprint. You can find
each of these listed as layer entries under the menu on the right titled Select another Layer.
• Think of “capacity” as an ability one could tap. ESI’s rating for a country’s social and institutional capacity measures
what people and institutions can do in terms of human-centered and environmental-centered sustainability.
• Ecological footprint is an indicator that measures environmental-centered sustainability based on one’s use of land
for food, shelter, mobility, et al.
Menu down to the Social and Institutional Capacity layer and inspect the choropleth map that loads after you select.
Pay attention to the legend on the right. It shows seven categories in percentage classes of 100 to 0 with a sensible color
scheme (hooray!). Notice that many countries of the world do not rate very well on this component, i.e. little ability to
m4s_assgt_wkVI.pdf – How Internet Maps Might Help Target Sustainable Dev’t Campaigns 2
improve themselves in terms of socio-environmental sustainability. When you are done menu down to the Ecological
Footprint layer and inspect that map. Looks similar to the previous one: you would think much of the world does not rate
very well. But this is deceptive. Green color reveals a high ecological footprint, meaning these countries are horribly
consumptive. At the other end pink is low ecofootprint, meaning these countries are not consumptive at all [mostly due to
being in a dire socioeconomic status, i.e. they are poverty stressed].
Let’s return to our challenge: how do we select a country in need of an environmental sustainability campaign? The
answer might be to use ESI’s powerful querying feature. Return to the ESI Map Viewer and click on the icon that is two
spaces right of the Other label at the top (looks like a spreadsheet with a ?-mark); a query palette pops-up below the map.
Follow these ten steps:
1. Within the Field label menu to CAP and release the mouse
2. Then under Operator label menu to > = (second from bottom, this means greater-than-or-equal-to) and release the mouse.
3. The under Value label type in 50 (this means 50 percent)
4. The click the Add button and watch the Query string below it build
5. Then click the And button and watch the Query string continue to build
6. Within the Field label, menu to EC_FOOT and release the mouse.
7. Then under Operator label menu to > =
8. The under Value label type in 50
9. The click the Add button and watch the Query string finish its build
10. Lastly, find then click the Execute button and watch the query make a map.
The map [see above] reveals all the countries that meet both the criteria we
set of Ecological Footprint (a country’s need) and Social and
Institutional Capacity (a country’s ability). These countries appear on the
final map in a medium-light olive color. If you followed the steps properly
there are 12 countries highlighted on the map as well as listed, along with
some related data. You could justify that any country on this list is a good
candidate for a communication campaign with a goal of motivating
residents to lower their ecological consumption. Our research has verified
that such a country has both the need and the ability, so one could reason
the effort is sensible and the outcome has decent chance of success.
Kimberlee Whaley Interview
A picture of Kim
1. What is your current job title? If/when pressed for time how might you
describe the type of work that you do?
Kim is a Fine Art and Freelance Photographer. In talking about her work she gave me
this description; if pressed for time, I would say I make austere images of objects and
spaces using selective-focus and tight cropping. As a freelance photographer, she has
shot lifestyles, events, weddings, and most recently, food.
2. What inspired you to work in your field? What keeps you engaged?
The desire to see things in a new way, to draw attention to the unnoticed, and to
capture ideas that interest her all play a part in why she became a photographer. Kim
remains engaged by learning new things, keeping up with a continually changing
industry/technology, and constantly finding new subject matter.
3. What classes did you take in college – and/or what skills did you learn
then – that best prepared you for your job?
The classes were more like challenges to find her personal voice and develop cohesive
artistic statements. Kim would have learned the technical aspects on her own (as it’s a
continual process that she works on every day), so the skills that she really needed to
learn were more to do with developing ideas and process which can’t be summed up in
However Pre-professional class was important in giving her information on how to be
a working photographer. Learning about contracts, day-rates, taxes and how to find
resources such as grants and exhibition opportunities enabled her to move into the
4. Could you describe a recent [or current] project that challenged you?
How did [or might] you meet that challenge?
Else/Where Mapping a cartography/design book is the most recent project Kim has
worked on, and was very challenging. Kim was using a new camera and new technology
and shooting posed “life-style” images which presented two challenges: one, shooting
in a manner that she doesn’t normally shoot with a totally different technology
(normally, she shoots with a large medium-format film camera, Else/Where was shot
with a Digital SLR) and, two, organizing the photo shoots where she needed as many as
10 people and had to shoot in borderline-chaotic situations (where people don’t really
want you photographing): the airport, light-rail, a Mercedes-Benz dealership and over-
taking coffee shops. In addition, she was communicating with the client via e-mail,
which leads to very loose art direction where more specifics were needed.
Kim met these challenges by shooting and re-shooting as often as needed to get the
images the client wanted. For organizing the shoots, she had to make a lot of phone
calls and ask for a lot of favors and discovered that most people kind-of like riding the
light-rail for over an hour. By the end of the project, she decided to no longer use e-
mail to communicate with the client because it lead to small misunderstandings with
big consequences and instead they used the phone for a more continuous dialogue and
for the last shoot the client went with her to help art-direct.
5. How do you gauge whether a project is successful or not?
Kimberlee feels a project is successful when both the client and her accomplished what
they had hoped to and that any compromises served to better the project. Also getting
paid in a timely fashion is a big bonus.
6. What do you think is the most important thing to remember when
starting a new project?
Clear communication between the client and yourself is the most important thing to
remember when starting a new project. You don’t want any surprises that will get in
the way of you completing the project happily. It’s important to ask a lot of questions
and then summarize what it is that you’ve heard during that conversation to make sure
you’re all on the same level. In addition, its important to really know what the
objectives are and for the client to understand what you’re expectations are.
7. What was you favorite part of working on Else/Where Mapping?
The challenge of trying something new was interesting and terrifying. Getting to work
with a fabulous graphic designer - Deb Littlejohn of the Design Institute - was great
because she had such energy and love for the project. Kim feels honored to have
worked on such an important project.
I found my interview with Kim to be very informative. Even though
photography is not my field I took away many thoughts to keep in mind
while moving forward in my field, graphic design. The biggest thing I
took away was that communication is key in any project. Without it your
project will suffer and also your relationship with the client and future
clients as well. Another thing that I took away was to never be afraid of a
challenge. In Kim’s last project Else/Where Mapping she met lots of
challenges along the way but overcame them and ended up with a
successful project in the end. The last thing I took away from my
interview with Kim was to keep finding ways to inspire yourself and not
be afraid to try new things.
– Ashley Bird
Deborah LittleJohn / Interview(phone)
University of Minnesota
April 19th, 2006
1.) What is your current job title? If/when pressed for time how might you describe the type of work that you do?
I am a design fellow, or I guess you could say, ‘fellowette.’ We have a rather large staff so we contract fellows to work on specific projects like a
design camp, once a week or over a long period of time. I have been here since 2002 and to answer your question while pressed for time, I would
say that I am a design director. I oversee any of the visual identity, anything the Design Institute of the University of Minnesota[http://design.
umn.edu] puts out, I will do it or it will get done by the contracting of others.
2.) What inspired you to work in your field? What keeps you engaged?
What keeps me engaged is reading more than anything. I was also inspired a long time ago when I was little by the computer, and I have always
been interested in art and culture.
3.) Could you describe a recent[or current] project that challenged you? How did[or might] you meet that challenge?
We just finished the book Else/Where Mapping. On our website we have some back information on it[http://design.umn.edu/go/project/else-
wheremapping]. We have been working for the past three years on that one project, which is a very long time. Continually researching keeps
us engaged, and we are also constantly adding artists to the book. As we went along with the book we continued to add new projects. Our
Else/Where book has just been published this past month[Else/Where: Mapping -- New Cartographies of Networks and Territories is a scholarly
anthology on techniques and contemporary applications of mapping, in four sections: Mapping Networks, Mapping Conversations, Mapping
Territories, and Mapping Mapping].
4.) How do you gauge whether a project is successful or not?
There are a couple of ways. Number one, if you are happy with it yourself, after every project ask this question, “have I done this justice?” If you
can answer yes, then it is successfull. A lot of what we do deals with communicating with the public. Whether it is recieved well by public, people
do not hesitate to tell you if it something works or not. If it does not work, people are honest. So internally for yourself, and other peoples criti-
cisms are the most important ways of gauging the success of a project.
5.) What do you think is the most important thing to remember when starting a new project?
This would have different answers from different designers, but for me it is reading the text, especially with book projects. It is important to un-
derstand what a project is, and to deal with the words you have to really read them. It is important to do the research behind the project, and not
just work on one solution and think you are done. Always question if what you are working is really good enough.
6.) What are some of the more personal goals that you may have had with the Green Map project?
There are two levels of success; What you think, and what other people involved think. The Green Map began as a class at the University of
Minnesota, at the College of Architecture. The students put the text together and did the research. It is important to me to do justice to their
research to show that there is an advanced level of research. Not to let image and design overpower their research. This was a map that was sent
out to the public, a map that you would not necessarily take with you in your pocket. It is more about the information, and awarness, not neces-
sarily about finding something. It is important that the reader of the map be able to engage with it. Knowledge maps are very large, so how
do you get people to engage in something that is all folded up? That is where the ‘Seeing Green’ goggles came into play, it was about getting
someone engaged in the content.[The Green Knowledge Map draws on the information gathered by students charting the people and places in-
volved in sustainable design at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The map shows the locations or buildings and landscapes where
environmental initiatives are taking place and the personnel responsible.
I interviewed Deborah LittleJohn, a design director at the University of Minnesota. She is a nice lady, who really loves what she does. I found
the interview to be very informative, I was able to take from it a lot about what she as a designer expects from a project, and what the most
important things to remember when starting and completing a project are. I learned that it is important to understand a project as best you can,
before you dive right into the visual and design elements of it. Research. Read. Engaging your audience in the content. I was able to learn a bit
about her Green Map project and how a group collaboration works with that type of project, as well as a three year long book project.
Overview: Community Networking Part II continues
with your final assignment becoming a map; post
a prototype of ecofootprint neighborhood map;
get + give map feedback.
Our classmate Erik sent me a sample digital shot of a
neighborhood volunteer he surveyed, then
photographed him in front of his northern Minnesota
house that he has just finished building.
m4s Google [interactive] Map
Final Neighborhope Map Survey / MCAD
Respondent’s name: Ruth R.
Map: Neighborhopemap __X_ Yes, I looked it over
Map’s goal statement:
The Neighborhope Map, uses data collected from a survey of seven individual
residents of the Bagley, Minnesota area. The surveys were given to people to give
a better understanding of how much land space our lifestyles take up each year.
Hopefully this map will help increase the knowledge of how we affect our planet
and each other.
25 Things to Do… Handout _X__ Yes, I looked it over
What is your general response to the map?
I think it was easy to read, you could tell where each of the
people lived in the town, making it easier to understand. I liked
how you could click on the markers to bring up the popup, while
allowing room to see the rest of the map behind.
What do you think you might do with what you have seen, if anything? Example, might
you change any consumption habits?
Yes, I would try to at least. I would walk more and not drive as
much, and look at where the food I eat comes from.
Any ideas of what you think this cartographer might do next with her/his survey & map?
I think its pretty good as is.
m4s Google [interactive] Map
SDCP online – what some
MCAD mavens have learned
• intentions are great, wallets are thin
• think about corporate buydowns
• take online course before teaching it
• make a good instructional designer
available as consultant to instructors
• be consistent, students need & love it
• work guidelines are very important
J. Kevin Byrne, Professor of Visualization
and Sustainable Development
Minneapolis College of Art & Design/USA
Sustainable Design Certificate Program
or url: www.mcad.edu