Introduction

For my map critique, I decided to study the series of protest maps given by the French daily newspaper’s website ‘Le Monde’ published on October 12th, available at:

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/infographie/2010/10/12/la-carte-des-manifestations-du-12-octobre_1424313_3224.html

After browsing through different worldly media sources, the French protesters were being described as juvenile delinquents or as lazy workers. Some media were using terms such a revolution and many of them were focusing on the rioting aspect. Instead of getting mad and outraged, I thought to myself that perhaps the information given from France was incorrect or biased.

From the end of June to now, many new reforms concerning education, retirement policies and immigration laws have been implemented and have largely divided French society. Many French citizens were not satisfied with either the Romanian situation, the suppression of jobs in Education and finally the raise of the minimum age for French retirement benefits from 60 to 62 and the new age at which you will collect full benefits from 65 to 67. Many protests and rallies took place in the last two months but in this assignment, I will focus on the ones linked to retirement.

Map Analysis

  • Pros: Just by using these series of maps, anyone could get the answers to the following questions:

-          How many were protesting on October 12th?

You are presented with two circular representations per city:  The blue one is giving you the prognostic of the police and the red one illustrates the figures given by the unions. Not only are you given a number, but you are also given a grand contrast, not only in terms of colors but mostly in terms of quantities emanating from two different sources.

-          Is the number of participants decreasing or increasing from one protest to another?

On the upper left part of the map you are given a set of various dates when the manifestations occurred. In one click, you are taken to a similar map but of a different protest date. Therefore, this allows the internet user to compare figures.

-          What do the protests look like?

As you aim your mouse cursor on a given city, the right part of your screen will be directed to pictures of the manifestations of the chosen city.

-          The French protest a lot, how are these protests compared to other movements in the past?

On the lower left side of your screen, there is a little icon looking like a bar chart on which you can click. From there, another graphic will appear and will provide you with why and when people protested in the last fifteen years as well as how many attended these protests.

-          Do I have any say in the information delivered to me?

Yes, you do! You can share your experience by sending in your pictures. If you click on the envelop icon located at the left bottom of the map, you will be taken to a page allowing you to download your pictures. Also, like most online articles, you can share the map on the major social networks, email it to someone, post it on your blog and comment on it.

-          What is that magnifying glass placed at the bottom of the screen?

It is a key element in this map as it directs you to three major pieces of information:

1)       How are these figures calculated from a police and a union perspectives?

2)       What do the protesters have to say?

3)       How will public transportation be affected?

Aside from the calculation question, all of these questions are answered with a written text.

  • Cons

As it seems to be a very complete map, I found a few flaws that could easily be rectified.

-          For a better comparison, the maps would be better layered than being looked at individually for clarity and visual purposes.

-          In my mind, the number of protesters should not be the only indicator illustrating how big the movement is.  You should be able to see right away, as you click on a city, how public transportation was affected. Therefore, clicking on a separate icon that then leads you to a 600- word article seems fastidious for substantial data like this.

-          The same goes for the protesters’ interviews. On the map, you need to click on the magnifying glass in order to get to the transcribed interviews. I find that it would be far more convenient to be able to hear an audio clip of the protesters themselves just as you click on a city.

-          Paris is a big city. It would be useful to have the itinerary of the march, what streets they will be walking in, the starting and end points.

-          Finally, I find it essential to know who is participating in these protests to better understand the movement. In addition, it might avoid  putting a single label on protesters such as juvenile delinquents or lazy workers.

Prototype

The prototype available on my Power Point presentation is based on the exact same maps but I have decided to add the following elements to make it clearer, meaningful and more efficient:

-          Layering option: allowing the superposition of  two maps to get a better idea of the differences from a number of participants’ perspective from one protest to another.

-          By clicking on a city, the user will be able to view immediately:

Ø  How the public transportation was affected through a very brief text.

Ø  Illustrated by a bar chat, who the participants were.

Ø  With an audio file support, you will be able to listen to a protester’s testimony.

Ø  Where the protest is happening in the selected city via a map.