There and Back Again

The project is a recap of the cross-country drive I made from Washington DC to Salt Lake City, Utah and back again. The possible metrics for the trip are:

the duration of the trip, the amount of time I spent driving, the cities I stayed in, the people I saw, the topgraphy of the landscape, and sights along the way.

I have realized through sketching that I need to limit the data to something manageable. I'm going to focus on miles driven and topography through time. I found that a traditional calendar layout was too constraining. I really wanted to preserve the idea of east to west to east. This is the result of the natural progression of showing a timeline/heatmap that suggests hotter on days that I drove further and cool when I stayed in one place. Topography is shown daily.

I have completed the manipulation of my data to achieve the main graphic for my project. The first step was to create a table in Excel of the elevation at midday and at the end of the day for each day of the trip. I created a line graph with time on the x-axis and elevation on the y-axis. Second I added to my Excel table with the values of the miles driven each day. From the new data, I created a heat map showing the degree of driving that I did each day: a long driving day is a red bar and the days spent in the same locale are blue bars. I imported the elevation line graph and the heat map into Photoshop as different layers. I registered the two layers by day, so that the horizontal scales were the same. After merging the two layers, came the tricky part of distorting the ribbon of travel. The ribbon is oriented so that east is right, west is left, and the northern route is on top. Next I need to create the overall graphic that tells the travel story, but this element came out close to how I had it envisioned.


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