Everyone in Yeoville comes from somewhere else, and Yeoville is not usually their first stop. We thought that the easiest and most familiar way to get people to tell the stories of their journeys to Yeoville would be through an actual map. Not only would this give us information about the routes taken, but it would give people the opportunity to mark and leave comments about their ‘original’ homes and the places through which they had passed. Google Maps – now as integral a part of the Internet as email – is something we have all used as a tool for getting around as well as for doing research and discovering things. Because of its ease of use and global accessibility there are now a myriad ‘Google Map mashups’: through Google it is possible to make a unique application suited to your own criteria and needs with Google Maps running as the underlying canvas for this application. With the limited budget and time we had for Hotel Yeoville, it made sense to make our own Google Maps API, a proper Web 2.0 exploitation of what is already available and accessible. A unique Google Maps application could easily give us all this functionality, and spare us months of developing a brand new solution to interactive mapping.
We wanted an application that would run on the website and be interactive, giving visitors the ability to add information easily. In addition to basic Journey information, we wanted users to add photographs of locations and people, if they had any, enabling a richer visual experience of the map. So while we kept the interface as simple as possible, we included the follow framing text: The Journeys Map was designed with the knowledge that nobody comes from Yeoville and everyone has a ‘real home’ somewhere else to begin with. The map allows you to tag your home and upload a short story or photos that you would like to share about that place. It can become a beautiful documentation of the diversity of origins in Yeoville.
Tegan Bristow, 2012