new layers: Undercroft

May 31, 2008 on 4:25 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: Undercroft

The permissions continue to roll in for photos of London’s Undercroft. This week three more people have filled in some gaps in the timeline by contributing their photos: Dancing Fish, Patrick John Quinn, and Hatters! This brings the total depth up to 32 layers for panel2, and 25 layers for panel3, spanning a period of almost two years. Thank you all!

More layers and more walls to come. Stay tuned.

new wall: undercroft/panel2

May 20, 2008 on 8:55 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new wall: undercroft/panel2

Shown here: undercroft/panel2 layer 27 of 28, May 3 2008. Photo by meophamman.

The great jigsaw puzzle of London’s amazing Undercroft skatepark continues to occupy many of my hours these days, thanks to the incredible wealth of photos available on Flickr, and the generosity of all the photographers who have allowed us to reuse them here. This week’s offering: 28 layers on the new wall “panel2”, plus an additional four on “panel3”. (Don’t ask about the numbering scheme—it makes sense to me, but it’s completely arbitrary.) The list of contributing photographers here is almost as long as the wall itself: Pierre Andrews, bryans_d80, Paul Carstairs, Jason Delport, Matthew Gidley, Michael Godek, Samuel Judge, Amit Kanekal, Will King, Leeks, meophamman, RedLeeroy, Roberta (retrotravelbug), Romanywg, and thirtyfootscrew. And that’s just the people who responded within the first 48 hours of my request for permission! There are many others out there, and I’ll continue to post their contributions as the permissions come in.

new location: the Undercroft

May 10, 2008 on 5:07 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new location: the Undercroft

Shown here: undercroft/panel3 layer 14 of 17, featuring work by BLAM and BONZAI, January 13 2008. Photo by Leeks.

Today Graffiti Archaeology finally leaves the confines of North America with our first international location! “The Undercroft” is a skate park located under the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank. It gets its name from the vaulted spaces under cathedrals, to which it bears a strong resemblance thanks to a series of flared columns that run through it. The spot is frequented by skateboarders, BMX bikers, the occasional unicyclist, and of course, graffiti writers. The wall shown above is just one of about a dozen panels that surround the space. I’ll be building out timelapse montages of the rest of the walls as time allows. Many thanks to Flickr users Jason Delport, Uli Rahms, CourtneyLouise, jessthecat and Leeks for their photo contributions.

See our Flickr group for more photos of this amazing space.

Apparently there is some danger that this cultural hotspot and meeting place may be shut down or made inaccessible to the public in the near future. If you live in the UK and are eligible to vote, there’s a petition you can sign to appeal for its preservation.

Improving the UI

May 10, 2008 on 12:55 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on Improving the UI


I gave an informal talk about Graffiti Archaeology at Stanford the other day, and the questions from the audience reminded me of some of the limitations of our current Flash interface. For one thing, the list of walls has gotten so long that it bleeds off the bottom of most people’s monitors. Also, there’s a lot of information tucked away in our XML data structure that we could be making better use of at the UI level. As a first baby-step in that direction, I added a new tooltip that appears when you hover over a location, telling you how many walls and layers that location has. (This also gave me an excuse to start cleaning up some of our messy old code. Geek joy!)

More improvements to come, as time allows…

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