The Pedalographer

An analytic mapping instrument. A flexible device for free-form visual discovery. The Pedalographer is a playful tool for modifying and layering information over visual mapping data akin to the way a guitar pedal does so for audio data. Developed in part with film “The Egg’s Beirut” in 2018, it is a part of a larger proposal for more responsive and improvisational analytic mapping techniques which are looser in their interactivity than the GIS workflows institutionalized today. Combining the affordances of micro-controllers, VHS cassette tapes, VCRs, CRT monitors, and historical maps, The Pedalographer reintroduces time, tactility, and spontaneity into mapping exercises.

The Pedalographer is an open-source project built largely on top of the shoulders of Arduino TV-Out library, the Nootropic Design Video Experimenter and Enhanced TV-Out library.

For those looking to develop their own, the Arduino .ino is located here

Click the poster Below to expand and view details…

Housed within are all the components necessary to analyze data in three distinct ways:

  1. Based on brightness/density (left column: “Wand”- “ENTER” - “FCTN”)

  2. Based on threshold (center column: “On-Off-On” - “Dial” - “ALPHA LOCK”)

  3. Based on location/position (right column: “Stick” - “FCTN”)

Each mode should be considered a different lens through which to understand and explore the currently displayed map. Relative and qualitative in their nature, they should be thought of as speculative means of drawing/provoking conclusions as opposed to prescribing them.

As a stand-alone device, the Pedalographer can be transported between work/play areas with ease. The robust body can be placed on a flat surface like a desk as if it were a part of your tabletop. The modular nature of the system offers huge room for customization, improvement, and modification. With each component in the chain - VHS - VCR - Pedalographer - Monitor/Display - contributing uniquely to the overall system, limitless permutations of the Pedalographic ecosystem exist.