Data Vis: Lake Merced Update

So on Tuesday we cleaned up perimeter of the lake. It was a grand  time and picked up a good amount of trash. We  mostly found papers, fabrics and plastics, there was  some glass and metals. Using GPS, we were able to pin point the location where we found the garbage. We ended up with six concentrations of rubbish. The most littered areas were actually less accessible to the public. We found that areas where people went to reach sanctuary and solitude, such as of trails had a higher density of garbage. We suspect, that most of the trash was left by homeless and parties.

On our trip through Mordor (aka Lake Merced)



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For the circuit we completed soldering the color sensor and Finished building the mono amp. We still need to complete the Line tracer circuit.

Color Sensor




The process: The purpose of the robot is to create an audio representation out of different categories of trash as it detects different color groups. Using a line sensing detector, the robot is able to trace the contour of Lake Merced and create a melody by reading different color groups. Different sounds are assigned to the different color groups of trash. We found that there was more trash composed of paper and plastic than any other categories. The visual representation reflects this pattern in color and subsequently, there was not much variation. While the melody sounded rather less dynamic, this indicates a positive effect on the environment, since plastic and paper are the most biodegradable materials. For example, it takes approximately 400-800 years for plastic to break down while it takes up to a million years for glass to degrade. Similarly, we found relatively few metals around Lake Merced, which also takes a significant amount of time to break down.

The challenge: The main challenge we faced in the process of making this site-specific project was the difficulty in organizing and working in a group. Also, there were difficulties in the technicality in carrying out the project as well as time constraint.

Break Down of Trash removed

lake merced


Icons Created by Saki

Final Design of the data visual map of Lake Merced

map merced copy

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