503 Reflexive Design GPS


29 Feb 16
GPS – on the Streets of Plymouth:
We found that we could walk the streets of Plymouth and track our movements using Trackr. Once our route had been plotted it produced a picture of a butterfly.
Image here!
We searched a printout of a map of Plymouth beforehand and found various images there but we also tried to contrive images before we set off.  I mapped out the picture of a pasty, a boat with sales, and others in the group suggested a fish and a lighthouse.
it took longer than we thought it would so only first got half of our butterfly.  I used Trackr but it was difficult to save the route.
Tried GPS visualiser.
image here:
It made us study the map in a different way than I have considered before. What shapes were conjured up by the map?  We could find images and these made suggestions to each of us.  This was familiar territory. We walk the streets of Plymouth daily and yet have not considered an inner beauty hidden until searched for.
Plymouth’s street layout has been contrived.  It is no longer a city centre allowed the privileged of growing organically.  The centre of Plymouth was razed to the ground during WW2 and a rebuild was designed for speed and efficiency.  The city was rebuilt out of cheap concrete structures on a grid-like layout.  It is cold and impersonal.  this contrasts strongly with the old Plymouth of the barbican area.
Walking the streets reminded me of Plymouth’s wartime past.  Coming around a corner and facing the “burnt out church” prompted me to search out the war time images:



where the bombs fell
there are videos of Plymouth in the Blitz Plymouth in the Blitz.
Churchill visited with Nancy Astor
We have a “Nancy Astor” building on Campus:

The Nancy Astor Building

Completed in 2008

Named after Nancy Astor (1879-1964), who was the first woman to serve as a member of the House of Commons. She was MP of Plymouth Sutton between 1919 and 1945. The Astors were hugely generous with their wealth. They gave buildings, land and money to the city of Plymouth. They financed the first hall of residence, Astor Hall, in the Stoke area of Plymouth in 1929 to accommodate science and technology undergraduates. 3 Elliot Terrace, where the King and Queen stayed in a visit during WWII, was among the gifts and is now the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Plymouth.

There are still air raid shelters Air Raid Shelters Plymouth

The clear up Plymouth clear up after the bombing

But where was Plymouth before that?

The most famous event was the sailing from the Mayflower steps to colonise America!

“Perhaps the most celebrated expedition to leave Plymouth was that of the Pilgrims. Persecuted for their puritan beliefs in eastern England, they set sail for the New World on board the Mayflower in 1620. After spending a few weeks in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, they eventually landed in Plymouth Harbor and helped to establish a new Plymouth community.”

Plymouth was settled in Saxon times and probably before that as Wikipedia suggests:

The earliest human remains in the Plymouth area are from a number of caves around Plymouth Sound. The ‘bone caves’, located at Cattedown, Oreston, Turnchapel andStonehouse, contain extensive Upper Palaeolithic deposits, including those of Homo sapiens, some of the earliest such evidence in England. A reindeerbone from one of the Cattedown caves is dated 15,125 ± 390 years B.P. There is no public access to the caves, and they are not easily locatable or visitable. However their archaeological importance is very great, owing to both the geographical location of the Cattedown discovery, in a European context, and to the quantitative and qualitative nature and physical disposition of the human remains; this is one of the most important discoveries for the early history of anatomically modern humans in Europe. There is currently no evidence of Homo neanderthalensis having been found in caves at Cattedown, Oreston, Stonehouse or Mount Batten (Turnchapel).[6]

It seems that Abercrombie was intstrumental in the re-design of Plymouth after the bombing:

Sir Patrick Abercrombie Regarded as one of the country’s most eminent planners of the day, the appointment of Patrick Abercrombie gave the Plan for Plymouth the ‘star’ name it needed to raise the city’s morale. With him he brought a large range of contacts including some of the country’s leading architects, such as Thomas Tait and William Crabtree (who went on to be appointed co-ordinating architect for the Plan). By this time, Patrick Abercrombie had already planned Dublin City Centre in 1913, and formed the Council for the preservation of Rural England. He was also Professor of Civic Design at Liverpool University and Professor of Town Planning at University College London. Alongside The Plan for Plymouth, Abercrombie is best known for his re-planning of London, creating the County of London Plan (1943) and the Greater London Plan (1944) alongside JH Forshaw. Abercrombie was also responsible for post-war planning schemes for Stratfordon-Avon, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Hull, Warwick and Bournemouth. Abercrombie was knighted in 1945, received the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Royal Gold Medal in 1946 and the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 1950. This work has led many people to consider Abercrombie the country’s greatest post-war planner. His work is still widely studied today and can be seen influencing architects and planners all over the world.

It would be interesting to see the similarities between the redesign of Plymouth and that of London, Stratford-upon_Avon, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Hull, Warwick and Bournemouth and whether they look similar. And why was he awarded the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 1950?

I then researched the tunnels of Plymouth.  I had heard that there were extensive tunnels and looked for maps and plans on the internet.

Plymouth Tunnels but I have yet to find any plans.  Worth asking the council.

Finally, Plymouth could be the ideal city to work with Augmented Reality to enhance visitors’ and resident’s experience of Plymouth.

Investigating augmented reality, google beacons:Google Beacons


The Proximity Beacon API is a part of the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacon platform, which also includesEddystone, an open beacon format from Google.

The Proximity Beacon API is a cloud service that allows you to manage data associated with your BLE beacons using a REST interface.

You can associate data with your registered beacons as attachments. Attachments are arbitrary blobs of data that are served back as messages to your Android and iOS apps through the Nearby Messages API. You can update attachments remotely, eliminating the need to physically visit each beacon.”

Looking at where tourist visit and what they are looking for will give us a project to solve using interactive technology to enhance a tourist’s visitor experience.