As I realize that we are approximately two weeks before our deadline, I still wanted to share with the class the four tools that I have been using to create my map.

My number one tool is my very traditional notebook accompanied by my pencil. As these two items may sound very “old school”, they have been for the longest time the most substantial objects used in any school or work projects that I have had to do. At the risk of sounding slightly crazy or nerdy, the pencil brushing the blank page of my notebook has always been a source of inspiration and creativity. It helps me put my ideas and thoughts together and create some sort of mosaic. I selected two ways that best portray how I make use of this notebook.

– The first one is very representative of how I begin to work on a project. I see it as a brainstorming with myself as I lay down everything that comes to my mind about the topic.

– There are also many pages on which I wrote down numerical data from my IPhone representing the signal strength in some of the areas where I did my field work at.

My second tool is another basic one… my voice recorder. Most of the time, I used it “undercover” as I interviewed several people from AT&T stores and urban dwellers passing by. I wanted their views on why they thought dead zones existed and if they knew what caused them. I believe that until this day, my favorite one is the one where I asked an AT&T agent if he could tell me why my phone always experienced a loss in signal from Queensborough station to 30th Avenue in Queens.  She told me that it was abnormal and suggested that I change my SIM card. As you already know, that didn’t change anything! I also used the microphone to leave a few comments that I wanted to materialize as I was walking. I thought it was best to use it undercover as I didn’t want people to “perform” as they knew that they were being recorded.

My third tool was of course my IPhone as it is what I am basing my whole experience on. I was able to enter a “field test mode” as I dialed the following: *3001#12345#*. In other words, instead of the gauge in the top right of the screen, I saw a numerical value replacing the bars. The lower it was numerically, the worse the signal strength was. For instance, in a subway station (at 59th St and Lex more precisely), I had. As on Times Square, I had the following signal strength. I also used an App called Coverage Map. On the itunes’ website, it is described as a tool used to “track signal strength, dropped calls and data throughput speeds by capturing millions of real-world results directly from participating mobile users’ devices. Then, using sophisticated analytics engine, this data is brought to life through easy to understand maps and ratings that show the true picture of each carrier’s performance down to the most granular level.” I used an Excel sheet towards the end of my study to organize all of my numerical data in which I divided the upload and download speeds according to the different areas as well as the numerical signal strengths.

Finally, in order to crystallize these “dead” moments, I decided to take photos of my surroundings in these abnormal zones in order to give the map user the possibility to have a visual of what is around and maybe guide him/her to a plausible explanation.

Thank you in advance for reading my post! I will of course be posting at the end of this week as we will be approaching our deadline!