My Food Map of Miami
I created an infographic titled “My Food Map of Miami,” which served as my second and final project for the Introduction to Data Visualization and Infographics course taught by Professor Alberto Cairo at the University of Miami. Students were asked to create a data visualization or infographic on a topic of their choice; I chose to create a map detailing my favorite places to eat in Miami.
I find that food is my favorite way to bond with other people. I love eating with other people, I love cooking for other people and I love cooking with other people. If I am going to visit a new city, I tend to plan my activities around the food the city has to offer while sightseeing activities are secondary. If a friend of mine is going to visit a new city, I catch myself suggesting a restaurant that I enjoyed when I visited that city, or one that I read about online. Now that I am about to graduate from the University of Miami and move away after four years of living here, I wanted to create a food map of Miami as a sort of commemorative way of expressing my gratitude for the time I’ve spent here.
I’ve lived in Miami since my freshman year of college which has allowed me ample time to explore the city and the food it has to offer. But I didn’t find I was able to truly begin my exploration of Miamis’ food until my sophomore year, the year I got my first car. Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty hard to explore Miami without one. And before that, my diet was more or less restricted to the food offered at University of Miami’s dining halls which is notoriously bad.
I compiled my selection of my favorite places by writing a list of the top ten restaurants/cafes/etc that I would take a friend to if they were visiting Miami.
For each restaurant, I pinpointed its location on my map of Miami, as shown in the final version of the project. I gave each restaurant a short write-up detailing my thoughts about it, along with a rating out of five stars, a dollar-sign symbol indicating how expensive it is, and a symbol indicating whether or not the menu includes vegan options.
The restaurants’ ratings were determined by their Yelp.com ratings, as were the restaurants’ dollar-sign symbols. If the restaurant’s page on Yelp.com did not include its dollar-sign price indicator, then I would determine the appropriate number of dollar-signs on my own by comparing it with the price points of other restaurants on my map.
My first two drafts were primarily made up of a general layout for my infographic which used placeholder shapes and images. I wanted to start by focusing on the overall layout design and mostly finalizing it before I even started adding in the actual content.
My third draft before my final version finally included my food map along with a description of each restaurant. Professor Cairo suggested that I make the restaurant sections as colorful as my map is, and to include photos of the actual restaurant inside of the restaurant sections. When creating my final draft, I implemented these changes as suggested by Professor Cairo during our in-class critiques.
Working on a project comes very naturally when you are really interested in the topic you’ve chosen to work with! This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but this project was still a nice reminder of how fun it can be to create things that you care about. One of the most exciting things about working with infographics and data visualizations is that there are endless topics to focus your visualization on, and there is so much to learn from the research that goes into building them.
Throughout this project, I felt that I became more aware of space and color in my designs. Working with a tabloid-size document, each round of edits made me more aware of my use of space than the last. Tabloid-size documents are a lot bigger than I tend to think they are when I’m working digitally, and realizing that has allowed me to make better use of the space I have to work with. Additionally, my becoming more aware of the use of color in my designs has allowed me to create a more visually engaging and cohesive product.