Research

Maps have incredible transformative powers, particularly in terms of spatial analysis, visualisation and in decision-making. As maps have become ever-more ubiquitous in both our professional and private lives, have the new tools and approaches changed the way we respond to and engage with spatial data?

Many disciplines are increasingly leveraging mapping within their own toolkits and practice, though most have over-looked the rich theoretical and historical basis of the discipline of cartography, creating solutions they believe to be new and unique when in fact previous examples can often be found originating decades earlier. Such is the result of the sound-bite and out-sourced knowledge of the modern world, where people happily don the suit of other disciplines, but are not interested in it’s historical and theoretical depths—and therefore fail to realise the real potential.

Is our relationship with mapping different now? To what extent is this a reflection of technology or new forms of representation and graphic communication? Are we seeing the evolution of new paradigms for the spatial and projective disciplines that realise a change for mapping within transdisciplinary modes of practice? These are questions that inform his personal research.

Estranged Space

Originally founded in 2014 by Dr Mathew Emmett, David Littlefield and Jason Clark as a research vehicle to examine spaces which are behind, between, beneath or otherwise separated from normative spaces—those zones which are there, but forgotten, neglected or simply subservient—the liminal, the beyond, the uncanny, the other, the elsewhere, the estranged.

Today, Estranged Space’s work is (re)defined by the joint expertise of Jason Clark and Dr Mathew Emmett, bringing together the disciplines of cartography, graphic communication, architecture, art and multimedia performance in the exploration, creation and understanding of space. We work with a range of clients—site owners, developers, institutions—all organisations who wish to subject spaces to closer examination, understanding and (re)interpretation. Our areas of interest include: mapping and perception, installation and projection, heritage and authenticity, and generative design and interaction.

We deploy a wide range of tools and techniques to explore the notions of perception, (re)interpretation, narrative, place and non-place. The practice has particular experience in site-responsive interventions in spaces which are contested, unsettling, hidden, lost, peripheral or displaced, but now extends this applied learning and research across a wider gamut that also concerns itself with the agency of mapping, the topologies of space, or the real and yet imagined worlds—the near and the elsewhere. Through spatial practice and interventions, we tell stories about places and spaces, encouraging new ways of understanding and reading space. We look for narratives within spaces and amplify them, re-present and re-frame them.

We embrace all formats of visual and audio communication, both established and new technologies and techniques. We also actively seek out new ways of applying technologies. We work as consultants, artists and designers across a range of experiences. Process is key to outcomes, and we reveal that through our work, which materialises through articles, insight, engagement, facilitation, workshops, teaching, strategic thinking, design systems and spatial research. Our practice is inherently collaborative, multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and research-focused.

Illustreets

No sooner had I picked up on one new online mapping framework, the OS Open Zoomstack, than another appears! Illustreets follows the usual formula, but with each new framework that gets released

OS Open Zoomstack

The world of online mapping frameworks moves apace! Now, even the monolithic mapping organisation, the Ordnance Survey, is involved. In July, they launched OS Open Zoomstack, providing vector tiles of their open data themes.

Hotel Visitor Map

Development work for a hotel visitor map, unrealised. Simplified approach to make the most of a small A5 printed format. The design reflected brand identity guidelines and needed to be dual language.

Planning Support

Throughout his career Jason has provided supporting services to chartered town and country planning companies and organisations. This has included everything from simple red line plans through to Design and Access Statement documents.

Visual Thinking

Having been embedded within graphic design and cartography for 30 years now, one recurring disappointment for me is the amount of ‘new’ conceptual and theoretical thinking, and object creation, that really is not new.

kepler.gl

Uber—who would thought—have released kepler.gl, an open-source geospatial toolbox. It’s designed to provide the easiest way of visualising geospatial data and gaining useful insights.

Beyond HS2

This project, commissioned by Greengauge 21, required a mix of maps, infographics and DTP to create a 200-page technical report which offers a comprehensive view of what Britain’s railway should look like by the middle of the century.

Google Earth

When it was first released 16 years ago, it was incredible being able to travel around the globe and look at anywhere in a level of detail previously not seen, and it still is today!

National Geographic

Since the very first issue in 1888, the National Geographic magazine has been the benchmark for quality researched articles supported by well-crafted graphics.

South African Game Reserve

A land owner in South Africa commissioned Jason to design and produce a map that depicted their 27,000 ha game reserve.

Goldsmiths University

Goldsmiths, University of London, commissioned Jason to create a new campus map and sign artwork

Square Up Mural

Square Up contacted Jason for ideas to decorate a reception wall for a new London HQ.

Heightfields

There is always an aspect of work that emerges out of error, experimentation and/or serendipity.

Bay Area Bike Share

Leading wayfinding practitioners, City ID, asked Jason to help develop the cartography for the Bay Area Bike Share project in San Francisco, USA.

Big Data Visualisation

Visualisations of ‘big data’ have been commonplace over the last few years, though their is still much debate to be had about the value of many of them beyond their visually interesting presentation.

A Monitor for a Cartographer?

Screen estate and colour are very important to a cartographer. Maps can be any size from A6 to more than 5m×5m square.

Ham & Petersham

Nick Avery Design commissioned Jason to produce a supporting map for a book designed for self-publishing author, Vanessa Fison.

An Open-source World

Over the last few years we have seen the release of numerous mapping platforms/frameworks to allow the manipulation and representation of open-source mapping and other spatial data.

OS Maps – the App

Recently, the Ordnance Survey (OS) updated an app for both mobile and desktop devices that utilises their 1:25,000 Explorer and 1:50,000 Landranger maps—classic OS mapping at it’s best.

Swiss National Mapping

Swiss topography has long been regarded as the epitome of this form of mapping, often characterised by the iconic hill shading techniques of the late Eduard Imhof, professor of cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Derby Riverside

derby01_lrg

Engaged by Derby City Council (DCC), Jason has designed and produced the mapping for four new wayfinding signs.

Relief Shading, Part I

As we seem to be moving in to presentational modes where 3D (mapping) is becoming ever more commonplace, enabled by software and hardware advances, it is relevant to look back

Walks of Churchill Guide

Jason was commissioned by Nick Avery Design to design and produce two maps to be used in a walking tour guide on Winston Churchill.

Zombies, Run! Board Game

A rather unusual request arrived from Six to Start, an independent games developer and entertainment company based in London.

Samlesbury Hall

Jason was engaged by Samlesbury Hall Trust, who maintain and run the historic house and grounds in Lancashire of the same name, to re-design and produce a new visitor plan and accompanying floorplans.

Waddesdon Manor

Engaged by The Rothschild Foundation, Jason was asked to re-design and produce a new visitor map for their impressive and extensive National Trust property and grounds in Buckinghamshire, Waddesdon Manor.

Knowledge Quarter

Commissioned by brand design consultancy, Piers & Dominic, Jason designed and produced a simplified map of the area covered by the Knowledge Quarter, London.

Bologna, Italy

Extract from the wayfinding map of Bologna, Italy

Jason was commissioned by international transport consultants, Steer Davies Gleave, to design and develop the cartography and pictograms for a new wayfinding system for the historic Italian city of Bologna.