By Darci Johnson and Julia Park
We are so excited to announce our new project for Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA), a virtual map that will be used for walking tours of Rhode Island’s most important and iconic Latino landmarks. These landmarks exist on or near Broad Street, in Providence’s historically Latino neighborhood, as well as in Blackstone Valley in Cranston. This map will provide photographs and small details on each location, along with an address and a pinned point on the map. Each location will link to the RILA website for further information, videos, interviews, and more. Our goals for this project are to work with Marta V. Martinez, the executive director and founder of RILA, to incorporate the most important locations and information for these landmarks. With feedback from Marta, we have worked to make the website readable for the general population, and have only included the most pertinent information on each location, allowing readers to easily click to the website for further information if they desire. We have also added an introduction and a timeline to better inform the map and its locations.
In preparation for our project, Marta took us on a Barrio Tour of Broad Street. We were able to experience the walking tour ourselves and get a better idea of how the virtual map should be integrated into the tour. To create the map, we used the Story Maps function of the software ArcGIS. As it was both our first times creating a virtual map, we were able to learn not only how to use ArcGIS but also its capabilities and limitations.
A challenge we’ve encountered while creating this virtual map was shaping it as a resource that could be built upon for future RILA projects. However, knowing that this map could be used for a future goal such as an app makes this project especially exciting. We are also excited at the prospect of making this project interactive with the public, and accessible for those who may want to tour on their own, rather than a guided tour through RILA. This will help broaden the scope of the mission of RILA and Nuestras Raices RI.