The Trouble with Sampling…

The Trouble with Sampling…

It is time to be honest. I have been bad about processes blogging. It truly is not for lack of trying. Each time I sit down to begin writing; something happens where I cannot for the life of me articulate what it is I am trying to do or the issues I am encountering. I My classmates however, have done a great job of exploring the questions pertinent to their subjects and it have been really helpful for me to see how they are approaching specific problems.

I think one of my main hang-ups during this process stems from our Map Critiques.  Each map that has  been critiqued is being judged and or deemed successful based on criterion that relies heavily on the selection of data presented. Their effectiveness and structure is totally informed by the information selected and the way in which it is presented. My project relies heavily on the idea of “Sampling” data as it would be far too much work for one semester to include the some four hundred plus monuments and markers in the city. The trouble with this method is that there is potential to gloss over important connections or leave out historically relevant moments that point to the arguments I would like to explore. As a result  I have spent weeks pulling various combinations of monuments in the hopes of figuring out what fifteen to twenty locations would lend itself to the most solid argument while also keeping in mind the elements we have learned about during the Map Critiques. This is a potentially  never ending process and it needs to stop!

I have come to the conclusion that this is an imperfect processes, and that is ok. There is no way to create a completely comprehensive data set from this material that will solve all of the problems and answer all of the questions I would like. So my new approach is to let the arguments pertaining to the ideas of memory within a collective urban identity to develop naturally . As Shannon and I discussed before the holiday, I will select about ten monuments and do a more in-depth exploration into their background.  I will also add an additional layer that plots  ten or so monuments simply as a spacial reference.

I started plotting points last night.  Fingers Crossed!

One comment

  1. “Each map that has been critiqued is being judged and or deemed successful based on criterion that relies heavily on the selection of data presented.”

    I think one of the primary reasons this comes up in our critiques is that so many of these maps don’t explain *how* data were selected, or how those data were generated. It’s not so much the *need* to be selective that some of us have taken issue with, but the need to *explain* that selection. As you’ve obviously realized, we need to ask ourselves what our maps are meant to do — and once we realize that we can still make compelling spatial arguments, tell compelling spatial stories, *without* a comprehensive “dump” of data, I think we can free ourselves to make some choices — to commit ourselves to a sampling technique, choose some points, and tell a story with those points.

    Remember, too, that this “sampled” approach is no more or less “imperfect” a process than a comprehensive mapping of a complete data set. As we’ve seen with some of our map critiques, a map full of data may look impressively complete and convincing, but we often find it hard to discern what exactly it’s telling us (or where it came from!)

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