SA8905 Cartography and Geovisualization Fall 2018
To better understand characteristics of the new municipal electoral wards in the City of Toronto, the new 25-ward boundary shapefile provided by the City of Toronto was converted to vector format and laser cut into five translucent sheets of acrylic. Each piece is engraved with the ward ID. Laser cutting allows the puzzle to not only fit together with precision, but also visualized the demographic census data using redundant symbology: opacity (lightness) and height.
Ward boundaries were retrieved from Toronto Open Data Catalogue and imported into ArcGIS Desktop. The model was designed to be cut into 16 in x 8.5 in sheets of 3mm acrylic, including legend items and a scale bar. Features in black (below) represent pieces that were laser cut and features in red represent laser engraving on a piece. Using layout view, the design was exported as a vector (.ai) file and sent to Hot Pop Factory for their laser cutting services.
Once the acrylic was cut, a magnet was super-glued to each piece below the engraved ward IDs. The magnets used were about 6mm in diameter and 2mm in thickness. Magnets were also attached to the scale bar and legend items. Using a magnetic white board as a base for the model, the pieces were stacked and the model itself was complete.
Demographic data at the ward level was retrieved from Toronto Open Data Catalogue as well. Once joined to the ward boundary file, a set of choropleth maps including population density, visible minorities, unemployment rate and average personal income were created. A maximum of five bins can be used to classify the data in each map since only five sheets of acrylic were laser cut for the model.
A catalogue of these maps was printed and packaged with the ward model. Users can browse through the catalogue and select which variable they wish to map. Using dry erase markers they can write the necessary cartographic elements on the mapped area (i.e. legend labels and title).