Well this was for sure a very long journey! Not only did it feel laborious but my project was also fluctuating from week to week as many different ideas were going through my head. Moreover, as I went along, the results found in my field work led me toward a different direction.

As said in my map and it my individual proposal, I had wanted from the start to map dead zones. Unfortunately, as a lot of time went on, I realized that dead zones were not really consistent (except for the one between Queensborough Plaza and 39 Av. Stations in Queens!). Therefore, at a very late time in the game I decided to build my map differently.

Last Thursday, I took the decision to focus on the area where I had collected the most data from. I had gathered data for:

–          Signal strength

–          Upload Speed

–          Download speed

After looking at my results, I noticed a few different things happening:

–          There were logical and obvious cases where the signal strength was high (or low) and therefore the upload and download speeds were high (or low).

–          However, in most cases, the relation between the signal strength and both speeds was definitely abnormal. In other words, the signal could be low and the data transfer speeds high or vice-versa.

–          The signal strength was in strangely good in areas where there were high-rise buildings compared to open spaces.  Surprisingly, in Union Square Park specifically, the signal was low even though it was an open space.

During my research, I talked to a technician whose job is to dish-network in houses (will be available in records on the website as soon as the link on the site is repaired).  According to him, there are various reasons for a signal to be low:

–          Radio signals are not clean signals. There is a lot of noise and junk. Therefore, the more people use, the more junk there is and the worse the signal becomes.

–          Buildings will also interfere with the signal strength. However, as we have seen on the map, it is not necessarily the case everywhere.

Taking all these observations and information into account, I ended up changing my record-types into these three categories:

–          Signal Strength: each point on the map represents the data gathered which comes in the form of signal strength, upload speed and download speed. The signal strength is measured in decibels and upload and download speeds are in kilobytes per second.

In this record-type, I added a picture of the location and in some, a comment regarding the numerical values.

–          Once upon a time, they were dead zones…: These are the very few dead-zones that I noticed once as I had embarked upon this project. Unfortunately, they disappeared when I went back to these locations. Thus, my project taking a different path. In this category, I indicated what day and what time I encountered these dead-zones.

–          Area of focus: After all the various changes that my project went through, I decided to focus primarily on one area where I could study the variations in signal strength and upload/download speeds.

Finally, in my arguments, I posted one piece on how to read the figures given on the map. Ideally, the map- users would have to read it before looking at the map in order to understand it better.

For my second argument, I felt the need to post this last process blog as it gives a context to this whole project. It is fact the story behind the map.

As I am waiting for the records link to be fixed, I intend to upload two of the recordings of the people I interviewed as I thought I was mapping dead zones: a technician (mentioned above) and an AT&T sales person. Even if at the time I was interviewing with a dead-zone perspective in mind, the information is still relevant to the subject covered in my map.

I didn’t want to force my project to be linked to another one but after giving it some thought and for future reference, I believe there is some degree of connection between:

–          Katie’s’ project:  As she is attempting to map circles of radio waves, I am mapping connectivity points within those circles. The comparison of both maps would be a great way to show that these circles are not necessarily always full.

–          It would be fun to link this project to Ariana’s. Food delivery persons need cell-phones to call their customers once arriving at their destination. It would really be amazing to gather info from them to figure out how they feel about the reception they have with their phone. This would be relevant if, I would create a map that didn’t focus on the iPhone 3G.