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Alan Waxman MLA GSD Harvard BA Whitman Anthropology + Japanese


As centerpiece for the October conference for the Sustainable Exuma initiative, I designed maps to fit onto a series of tables in the center of the conference room. Details included taking raw map data, cleaning and publishing it as a high quality image, and plotting it as an aesthetic but useful and identifiable set of renderings. The maps were futher made “live� as a useful centerpiece by cutting acrylic to fit on the maps. This enabled members of the conference to draw on the maps. The Exuma project is a partnership between the Nation of the Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


The table set up for the conference wth Gareth Doherty and Dean Mohsen Mostafavi.


The Bahamian Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis with Dean Mohsen Mostafavi and Countess Beatrice, confidant of the Aga Khan. Dean Mostafavi is presenting the Countess and the Deputy Prime Minister small 3d sculpted islands - Cat Island, birth place of the Prime Minister and Bell Island, private estate of the Countess with the Aga Khan. I crafted the cut files for those islands from scanned topographic maps using specifically developed algorithms to capture scanned raster topolines, vegetation, and housing lines and convert them into vector lines.


The Bahamas provided census data for 2010, which I then spatialized by merging the census data with historic maps, google maps, and gis layers. The Bahamas provided NO base maps or even census block groups. Various stages of research lead me to hold that several key constituencies make up the power structure on the archipelago of Exuma: local Exuma people, long term land owners, and tourist industries. Indices of these groups include churches, schools, hotels, private estates, and aquifers. Research revealed racial data with which I made a ratial density map. I joined this with other datas on water and buildings. The final graphic fonts and colors were unified with other work by Rob Daurio.

BAHAMAS RELIGIONS ATLAS MAP 2013 In order to better understand one of the most powerful constituencies in Bahamian life, church groups, I compiled a catalogue of all the churches in the Bahamas. I then geospatialized these places of worship on population density maps that I had also compiled from scratch. The churches were located by reading mostly online resources provided by the church groups themselves identifying local landmarks or locations. The population map was possible by reading the descriptions of census blocks and then tracing their areas based on historical and contemporary geospatial sources. The black population dots represent the US census Bureau’s definition of urban, 500 people per square mile. At right is featured just a few islands from the Atlas. To my knowledge, the Atlas is the first of its kind for the Bahamas.


The Exuma island chain is Versaille for the mega-rich. Land, or rather, beach, values increase as islands are located deeper in the coveted Bahamas National Trust. The Exuma archipelago has a long history of powerful land owners. In 1783 John Rolle came as a British loyalist fleeing the infant United States with a large group of people in bondage. He ordered the planting of cotton, but the paltry soils didnt support the crop for more than a few plantings. Rolle’s mercantilists left soon after, and the people of Exuma became self-dependent. In the centuries since that time, tourism has replaced Rolle with the mega-rich and their private estates.

Exuma Mapping  

Maps crafted for the collaborative research and design initiative between the Bahamas and Harvard

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