All posts by mapc088

About mapc088

Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology PhD student Arizona State University.

Melting island: A reflection

Today we share the last class of Public Participation in Science, as well we experience Melting island proposal.

With the maps of Tuvalu and Toga, as well as melting Vanuatu, we discuss climate change, at the moments that the ice from our coups and poles was melting by the heat. For me, the conversation was a moment of deep attention, with a respectful reflexion and an intense atmosphere. In my perception, those fragile models of Vanuatu’s islands were more affective than effective, distorting the enviroment in the first moment of deep contemplation about the systemic effects of capitalism.

Andrew (H) break the ice, sharing some feelings about disappearing places, introducing us a new flavor of nostalgia. Ale shared about Cancun post-disaster reconstruction, and a conversation about Real State in coastal Florida situated the feeling in an American setting. Mathew looks in the materiality and resources of this communities. Then, Hessun reflects about our understandings of the fragility and sensing, and Julian confess cracking the melting ice in his consumption.


This exercise of critical design is not speculative. The current consumption of climate change, “as a narrative and as a product” (as Andrew wisely described) It’s a current act about the limits of our planet, the ways of living and the relevance of became an aware actor in the constellation of situations that contribute to climate change. As Andrew (R), who restrict his meat consumption, this artifact asks for the far-est consequence of our direct mode of existences in late capitalism.

I want to confess that the emotional reaction of the class for me was super unexpected. The silence which emerges, the contemplation space and the slow movements illustrate a deep feeling in our classroom. In addition, the experience is for me illustrative of the power of the artifact to grasp our awareness about these communities, places, and phenomenon at the same time, translating the ice in a multiplicity of discourses, self-contained in the glass and expressed by the meaningful experience.

I hope this experience was so powerful for you, as was to me. Thanks you.


Island melting: A process

This post wants to summarize the processes that I made to elaborate my artifact.

  • Initially, I begin with the research about culture and geography of Vanuatu. This island country in the South Pacific Ocean with 270,000 inhabitants in 12,189 km2 (4,706 sq mi). Also, is one of the places in which SolarSPELL is implemented.
  • With this information, I look for the geographical information of the country, to develop a 3D model. The initial data is a USGS data from the country. Using ArcGIS software, this is produced in a raster tif archive, filtered to show the height of the selected area.
  • The selected area was modified for an stl archive to prepare the 3D model. The first model was modified in a vertical exaggeration in a factor of 7.5, because of the short altitude of an island in the model. Here the collaboration of Mattew Toro (Map and Geospacial Hub) aims me to get rid of this challenge of scale.
  • I print in the AME maker space the 3D model, using a high-resolution printer to get the geographical details that can be represented by the modified raster 3D model.
  • With this information, I used a silicone plastique in two phases, to when is mixed, can be molded and produce a shape. Jennifer Weiler shares this material with me. After covering the 3D print model with the plastique, took 1 hour in be complete polymerize.
  • photo5183881267366701053
  • With this, I produce Ice cubes tray and the ices with the shape of Vanuatu. This takes 45 minutes in be frozen in each iteration.
  • Finally, I prepare a natural mango juice, because is one of the most popular fruits that Vanuatu produces. In addition, I look for maps to prepare the setting of the conversation:
    • How we can make more awareness about the systemic effects of climate change in island communities?
  • photo5183881267366701054
  • For me, this artifact connects poles melting with the sea arise level, as well with the effect of climate change in the geographies, communities, and places. Think about (close-)futures climates refugees is something that is necessary, but also is direct compelling to current effect, that happens during our conversations, pushing a tension between doing and thinking.

Melting world: A island proposal

Climate change is a complex human-driven phenomenon that modifies the dynamics of the biosphere. Among others, different environmental disruptions produced by humankind contribute to increasing the pollution on carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane, as well as phosphorus and nitrogen compounds, among thousands of other chemical disruptions. As consequence, a temperature of planet increase at least in 1 Celcius Degree, erosion and desertification expanded, and acidity and temperature of water bodies. There are thousands of resources to explore this evidence, but a very interesting framing, like debate, is portrayed by Kitcher (Science, 2010)

This last issue had specific manifestations that rely upon the volume of water. Higher temperatures increase the volume of water, making that lakes and ocean increase their height around 0.2 mm per year. This is due to the increasing temperatures catalyze physical changes of water, been their evaporation (creating drought in inland territories) and fusion, melting ice in high mountains and poles. As consequence, there coastal and island territories are largely affected by drowning of territories.

Small Island countries are particularly endangered. UN recognize 48 island countries, being the three larger agglomerations the Caribean, Asian Southeast and Pacific Islands of Oceania. This last group is compound for 14 island countries, with the larger risk in front of climate change. Their orography barely reaches tens of kilometers, being mostly coastal geographies.

The connection between poles melting and island drowning is direct under climate change effects. My artifact will materialize this issue, creating an ice cube tray that is made on the geography of some of this Pacific Island countries.

Elements of the project: GIS data, 3D printing, Model cooking silicone and, Ice cube

View at

For this project, I will use Geographic Information Survey Data (GIS) freely available on the internet. Also, I will use the installations of the Maps and Geospatial Node in ASU Library to print 3D models of those. Then, I will be use cooking silicone to create the molds, to finally prepare the display experience.


Politizing artifacts

For the third artifact, I am looking in projects that relate with the materialization of political and ethical issues. In particular, I’m tried to focus on projects related to communication challenges.

The first project that I found is a gallery exhibition from 2016, at Carnegie Mellon University. Climatic: post normal design, is a collection of artifacts that intersect with political issues. For instance, Critical Jugaad (Deepa Butoliya) is an air mask that reflects about the future of design itself, as well perform a barrier between the user and the medium. The filter catches some particles, resisting the flows exchange. At the same time, the author intended to reflect about conditions of design itself is observed through her process of elaboration and performance.


Drawing together indigenous futures (Tristan Schultz) “maps out knowledge patterns emerging from yarning sessions with a group of Australia’s leading Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander academics” This boundary object interact with several epistemic and ontological traditions that leverage imaginaries of futures in those communities. The affective dimension is particularly relevant in the development of this practice, as well the incorporation of visual elements that relies upon the complex experience of original islander inhabitants about their futures.

A second example is “The Republic of Salivation” (Michael Burton & Michiko Nitta, 2011) question of conceptions about food and famine, producing a scenario which a government control rations of food after a huge famine. The results are a food-controlled future with monotone flavors and experiences. This crisis relies on possibilities to create alternatives meals (or drinks!) from this diet. In addition, the experience is enacted as an environmental storytelling performance, where a room is built to tell the story.

Finally, the project The Zone (Pablo DeSoto, Roman Torres, 2018) is an anthopocene/capitalocene installation of radical cartography. The instalation represents  Fukushima Exclusion Zone in Japan; an evacuated area as a consequence of the maximum level nuclear accident after the catasphope happened on March 11, 2011. More than 160,000 people were evacuated by the nuclear contamination, as well the potential effects of the spreading their radioactive particles into the environment. The exclusion zone declared unfit for habitation comprises an area of 800 kilometres around the affected centre.

Whether questioning what we eat, what we inhabit or what we believe, the three facilities contain highly political elements embodied in highly sophisticated forms. The experience that the participants have lies in the discourses that the authors produce, not only with the artifacts, but also from them. The results are artifacts that transcend speculation and place ways of knowing in political, ethical and social perspective.


Failing with… measuring soil data with Solar Spell

This is a report about the stage until last class about my project, to share where I was stuck and how I’m trying to solve i

My objective for this project second project are:

1. Build a SolarSpell
2. Explore and define an environmental sensor (Strongly inspired in Public Lab developments
3. Make the modification in the sensor, software, and device (Solar Spell) to make it capable to measure and catch environmental data
4. Have a prototype that is able to measure environmental elements (not expected a UX interface for this).

I’m stuck in part 3 for the moment. This also makes me delay the

On Tuesday 23 afternoon (after class) I check several forums related to the sensor and look for the libraries to install in Solar Spell, as well a Debian OS. Those include the myflora_scanner, MQTT, phython_garden, InfluxDB, among others.
On Wednesday 24, I installed those libraries in the Raspberry Pi and look that they worked. Looking at them, they seem well installed, and I started reading who make the connection with the device.
Last Thursday 25, I focus on the detection, getting the MAC address for my device and looking for its connectivity. I start to notice that the Raspberry Pi doesn’t detect the sensor.
On Friday 26 I was unable to dedicate time to the project.
Saturday 27th I got some detection of the device by the Raspberry Pi, but not measures. In that way I was testing with plants, using my computer and cellphone to look if the sensor was working correctly. The sensor works, but when I tried to get data in the Raspberry Pi I don’t get it. Considering that I was getting something, I was trusting that I will get the project for today.
Sunday 28, getting those struggles with detection i mostly focused on try to solve it. In that tried, I notice that one of my libraries (mqtt) is getting a lot of errors. I look for another way to support in the console. I asked for help to a CS friend. (via call), and he recommends me to reinstall the libraries over a light version of Ubuntu. This change was a major change in the previous programming, starting over again.
Monday 29th morning I started with this programming, but I won’t be able to get all the libraries to run on Ubuntu. Nevertheless, I spend the afternoon working on it. But at the moment to test the sensor, I got again some errors. I got the detection between Device and Raspberry Pi, but not a record of the measurements.
During Tuesday 30th, before the class, I was trying to get at least a visualization of the data that is receiving in real-time measurements in the sensor, but I don’t get anything for the moment.
I trust that my new strategy (using an Ubuntu OS) will get results, and making run the libraries to see the data on real-time and save the data in the memory. In addition, I expected to make some material to the showcase of the project, that is drafted, but I don’t complete for make the artifact works.

A report in Measuring soil with SolarSpell

During this last week, I was working in the code of the MyFlora sensor, and the Raspberry Pi 3. In one way, trying (unsuccessfully) to get communication between both, and second, working to understanding the code in the sensor.

The sensor includes 4 elements: light, temperature, salinity, and humidity. All of them incorporated into the code and optimized for a household plant. For this reason, the sensor in its current state is not useful to work in the ranges of sensibility that are useful for the agriculture interest that Puerto Rico team requires.

In addition, I was stuck for the last days, but today I received some guidance from a CS friend. She is helping me to figure out ways to understand the nuances in the code and understand ways to transform the functions for the purpose I’m intended to get.

I hope to obtain some results in Friday about the artifact, to tested during the weekend, and got deliverable artifact for the presentation on Tuesday.


Measuring… soil properties in Puerto Rico

During the last 2 weeks, I was working making a solar Spell in the facilities of Poly Campus. The elaboration of Solar Spell include several materials, but the most important are the Raspberry Pi, a battery, the solar panel and a sensor.


In addition, I participated in some conversations about the interest and needs of the Puerto Rico community that will be used Solar Spell. For this reason, they mention their interest to use a solar spell to track agriculture information. They had several sensors “Myflora” that is a commercial sensor used to measure indoor plants. In that way,  my advance was at hardware level.

In that way, I’m currently working in two steps: First, develop a program to run the “My Flora” sensor in Solar Spell, and second, observe variables that the sensor can reach in outdoor environments.

I will be with my materials today in class 😀


Measuring something

For this project, I’m interested to explore in detail my main research object.

I working on a device called Solar Spell, that Dr. Laura Hosman (my advisor) developed 4 years ago. This device is a ruggedized solar-powered offline library that has been deployed in different countries.

The main processes for Solar Spell until this moment are: Developing the digital library, establishing a build day of the device and installed it in different locations (that include Comoros, Vanuatu, Fiji, Micronesia, Nepal, Ruanda, South Sudan and soon, Puerto Rico) In this way, the device works as a distributor of information.

My interest is expanding Solar Spell to catch environmental information. I’m thinking in an adaptation that allows it to get air, energy or water quality information. (I’m don’t completely sure what and how to measure it yet) Until this moment, I’m looking for sensors and software that I can use to develop this extension of SolarSpell, as well, it’s the first time that I’m manipulating the artifact.

My diagram of the device with a sensor. Main parts are labeled.

In this project, I expect to

  • Build a SolarSpell
  • Explore and define an environmental sensor (Strongly inspired in Public Lab developments)
  • Make the modification in the sensor, software, and device (Solar Spell) to make it capable to measure and catch environmental data.
  • Have a prototype that is able to measure environmental elements (not expected a UX interface for this).


To start the provocations from DIY Science, in that way I select a “traditional” biodiversity observation, a science educational app, and a more inner environmental device. I had the pleasure to meet the creators for different reasons, and also want to share with the class these meanfully projects. For this week, and due to I’m don’t sure what will be my project, I’m started with my confort-zone space about DYI Science.

Image Credits: Nicholas Shapiro’s Februry, 7th, 2018.

First, the project “Salvemos el abejorro” (Save the bees!). It is a Chilean project to visualize abejorro’s areas in Chile. Abejorro is the larger bee in the country, as well a local and endangered species. It’s a mapping project, that asks the participant to localize and take a photo of the habitats of this kind of bee. The scientific purpose of this project is to develop habitat’s distribution maps to protect the species.  In addition, this project is supported by a community that I’m working with, the “Fundacion Ciencia Ciudadana” (Citizen Science Foundation) from Chile. They use a Facebook group to engage with their participants.

Second, Lab4U is a start-up created by Komal Dadlani. They develop a software to analyze by colorimetry samples with your smartphone. Applying basic spectrometry principles, the application allows determinate the estimated concentration of a solution using a smartphone. Lab4U Chemistry has an educational purpose but can be applied in different context. Other applications of this app are to make physical measurements with a smartphone.

Finally, the work of Nick Shapiro’s Indoor Air Remediation Kits is designed to detect formaldehyde residential pollution and environmental exposure to this substance. Nicholas is Iniciative Fellow of Public Lab, an organization dedicated to DIY enviromental science. The website includes iterations of this project, as well as prototyping, manuals and publish research.

Finally, Something that I’m looking to look inspiration beyond my comfort zone in the past of Public Lab, in a blog called is Grassroot Mapping, that is/was at the same time is a Grassroot initiative to map Grassroot initiatives and understand its distribution (DIY-ception!).

More about my findings for a second project during next week 🙂

Martin’s first artifact: A Non-human flowchart for humans

For the project of Data Visualization, I’m focused on the problem of categorizing technologies. My initial question was “How we can explore the categories of non-humans?” This is drawing in the tradition of Science and Technology studies, as well as experiences related in the last month.

In that way, I decide based on the International Patents Classification (IPC) instead of USPTO, because of the accessibility of the data, and the rationality behind it. US categories required a larger interpretation and had a lesser relevance in the international systems. Lafond and Kim (2017) reported on the history of reclassifications of USPTO an increasing complexity, that is more transparent in IPC. With this consideration, the use of IPC sections allows me a valuable observation in the purpose of this data visualization.  In addition, OCDE has a Patent Statistics Manual (2009) which was particularly insightful for the understanding of the category constructions.

The implosion method (Dumit, 2014) was used as a reference to inspire question, but only some dimensions were used, and very limited. This free use of the tool has a very pragmatical explanation: Due to each technology can be imploded, the exploration in a flowchart became counterintuitive. For this reason, a diversity of questions were set about functions, contexts, materiality, enviroment, purposes, and others meanings, practices, and feelings that humans made of a non-human.

I work for this flowchart with This platform, that connects with my google drive accounts, allows me to create a 90×40 in design. I made this scale because I was designing it for a wall appliance, like in a technology museum (thanks to the inspiration on our readings). Other format details: The selection for a font is Helvetica 120/50/45/35/30 pt. Diamonds represent questions or selections, rectangles concepts, and white ovals “yes, maybe and no” alternatives. Colored ovals are patent classes under WIPO standard. 28 classes, including al X99 (Others in that class), were excluded for design purposes by the author.

PPS - Project 1

The final design incorporates 90 classes, as well as questions. The first column has ontological and deontological purposes, to encourage the participant to reflect on the act of classifying. Every non-human is worth to categorize? Are these categories enough? How individual experiences affect the available categories? Some of these questions were strongly motivated by an experience two weeks ago in Melbourne, as reported in a previous update. An observed limitation of this database is the strong representation in classes from Industrial age non-human, in contrast to others innovations, that also challenge the participant with the absences in the flowchart.

In addition, as some described in class, the input-ouput don’t is linear. Starting with any class, a back-tracking exercise connect with other structures of exploration. Differences of technological appropriation of a data visualization, as well as the complexities about what is visible and invisible are essential elements of this kind of approximation to the scientific data (and any data, intrinsically).

Finally, exploring categories is a challenging topic for #DataVis, in conceptual, technical and political ways. This flowchart problematizes these relationships about non-humans that patents systems relies on humans. At the same time, offer a way to discuss with this categories, fill the gaps, read with a multiplicity of directions, as well speculate with new questions, connections, and even categories.

Dumit, J. (2014). Writing the implosion: Teaching the world one thing at a time. Cultural Anthropology, 29(2), 344-362.
Kennedy, H., Hill, R. L., Allen, W., & Kirk, A. (2016). Engaging with (big) data visualizations: Factors that affect engagement and resulting new definitions of effectiveness. First Monday21(11).
Lafound, F. and Kim, D. (2017) Long-run dynamics of the U.S.patent classification system. arXiV:1703.02140v1
OCDE (2009) Classifying Patents by Different Criteria. OECD Patent Statistic Manual.