Over the past several weeks I have made significant progress on the final detail of the Capturing Campus Cuisine website: the interactive atlas! Originally, I was planning this interactive user feature to be a timeline map, that would allow visitors to move through the Early Period on campus (from 1855-1870) exploring different locations on campus related to food production, processing, and consumption. However, as I have been compiling the data for this project with CAP fellow Susan Kooiman, we realized that many of our sources date to the Early Period, but did not have a specific date associated with the photo or information.
This is when I decided to switch gears. Instead of taking a timeline approach, I moved to a thematic one. The map is now set up to be explored through the major themes discussed in the ‘Food Practices’ section of the site: food production, processing, and consumption. These themes will be able to be toggled on and off depending on the information the visitor would like to explore.
While this seems simple enough, it ended up being more complicated than I had expected. In total, I believe I attempted at least five different ways to create both timeline and thematic layered maps, moving from one iteration to the next because of a feature that I was having difficulty in manipulating (icons, layer control location, etc.). Finally I landed on using LeafletJS to create the map. This was a little new for me, I have used MapboxJS in a past project (Mapping Morton Village), but luckily for me, there are excellent guides and tutorials for using Leaflet to adapt and customize interactive maps. Below you can see what the map looks like now with the stand-in points until the final locations are determined.
With the functional aspects of the map figured out, I am on the final step of the project: filling in the content of the map and website. While most of the points of interest for the map have been selected, we are welcoming suggestions on what you, the potential visitor, would be interested in hearing and learning more about the early foodways and cuisine on historic MSU’s campus.