Animal Mapping Tokyo

Trends Trends & Culture - May 2nd, 2012
whalemap

Tokyo Zoo has narrowly missed out on a prestigious award. We are not, though, talking about pandas in Ueno, but a project designed as a creative use for GPS technology.

Starting in 2010, the idea was to use Twitter to source animal ideas, draw them, map the ideas onto a large image of Tokyo, using roads as the outlines, then follow the route on a bicycle.

Sound easy? Take a look at this video to get more of an idea of how the process, which today resulted in narrowly missing a coveted 2012 Webby award, started.

14.4 km Sky Tree Giraffe course

Now, the tigers, elephants, lions, rhinos and whales, which GPS mapping of the trips give form to, have been curated into a place to go for two-wheeled Tokyo travel inspiration: the Tokyo Zoo Project site. If you fancy the 14.4 km Sky Tree Giraffe course (pictured on the right), you will start at the hind leg – Kameido Tenjin – follow north-west to the neck, towards the Sumida River, and end up back where you started; all with a Sky Tree view. The website has useful images and downloadable maps of the animals images, which the project calls geoglyphs, to help you on your way. You can even design your own.

Maybe you fancy cycling the Koenji Chicken Route? The 23.11 km course could, the designers say, help you lose 841 calories. Will that be enough to shed the guilt of a yakitori dinner afterwards?

In its 16th year, Webby, the annual award for excellence in web design, which has around 70 categories including web activism, design, usability and advertising, says that “Some are beautiful to look at and interact with. Others are a testament to usability and functionality. And a handful excel across the board; to be selected among the best is an incredible achievement worthy of praise.”

The Tokyo Zoo project, which started life as a FRONTAGE Inc. advertising campaign for Sony’s nav-u portable navigation system, lost out to DDB Tribal Berlin’s site for the Volkswagen Beetle in the Best Visual Design – Function category. Bicycles trailing cars, but the Tokyo project gets our vote.