Using technologies such as Google’s satellite mapping and overlays, Hypercitites is able to show the evolution of city planning with layered maps in an online setting that is somewhat easy to manage. Although it addresses the humanistic problem of gathering maps and records from different locations and sources and displays them in a way that is easier to comprehend, the site is still in its early beta stages and isn’t quite there.
After launching Hypercities from their homepage, the site works in a similar to Google Earth with a mixture of simple Adobe Photoshop (in terms of layers). On the left-hand side of the page, there are familiar zooming and moving tools that you would expect from Google, and the right side has maps of cities from all over the world, the number of locations available are growing, an maps from the past are in reach; you can even adjust their opacity (transparency). Again, this site must still be in its early stages: their archives only go back to 2009 and parts of Hypercities are down for maintenance.
The webpage, in the future, will be a great tool for anthropologist, archeologists, cartographers, and city planners. This just goes to show how digital humanities partners with other fields to make research and tools available in new and easy to manage ways. Even someone who isn’t in the listed fields can use and understand the material provided; that’s a huge achievement for the digital humanities and communications with emerging media. This project utilizes many aspects and professions. This site being managed by UCLA clearly connects and coordinates between many majors, but it’s clear that communications and digital humanities are at the forefront. We can see areas where PCEM majors are contributing and when this site has undergone more development and more beta testing, will be a great tool in the future for the academic and professional workplace.
– Joel Ericsen, Kayla Black, & Lauren Brooker