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As designers, we don’t design in a vacuum. A good designer will need to learn to take feedback from their peers, clients, and bosses to solve a particular design problem. Critiques will also help you broaden your communication skills as a designer, as there is always the opportunity to articulate why you did what you did or to better explain your idea to the reviewer if they don’t see it as clearly as you do.
A good critique can involve both positive and negative feedback, which can be tricky to navigate. Here are some quick tips on how to give–and receive–good design feedback during a critique.
How to give a good critique: The love sandwich
The best way to approach critiquing someone else’s work is to sandwich the feedback with love. If you think of your critique as the sandwich, the bread would be what you “love” about the work and the middle—the fillings—would be what you didn’t like as much.
First, tell your fellow designer what aspects you like about the piece, whatever they may be. Be descriptive. Instead of just saying “I like it” explain why you like it while using specific examples from the design whenever possible.
Next, move onto the constructive criticism. If you think certain aspects of a design aren’t working, try to explain why or offer suggestions on how they can be improved. Asking the designer questions may help them to see problems in the execution of the design that they may not have seen on their own.
You may also want to limit your use of personal pronouns, like “you,” to make sure your critique is about the design work and not about the designer. We all feel personal about our work, but during a critique, it’s best to separate the person from the piece. For example, say you have a critique about a line intersection. You may want to say, “The way this line intersects with that line,” instead of “The way you intersected this line with that line.” This will help reassure the designer that the criticism is about the work and not about them, as designers.
You don’t have to agree or like the decisions of the designer but their work deserves honest feedback. Put yourself in their shoes. If they are brave enough to share their work and ask for feedback, then they deserve to get that, both the good and the bad.
Finally, don’t forget to repeat or elaborate on what you liked about the piece so that the critique ends on a positive note. This way, the designer knows the piece may need some reworking, but also that there are aspects of the design that work as-is, too.
How to receive critique well: A grain of salt
Hopefully, your fellow designer will follow the Love Sandwich guidelines and give you a great, honest critique. During a critique, It’s important that when you hear the good and the bad feedback to take it with stride. Design isn’t math. There are no right and wrong answers; only subjective opinions that may differ from one designer to another.
That being said, remember that a critique is about your work and making it the best it can be; it shouldn’t be about you. If you disagree with specific feedback, explain your decisions thoughtfully but also listen to what’s being said. Remember, those who are giving critiques generally do so because they want to help you grow as a designer, so try not to get defensive or take their criticisms personally.
And, if you don’t agree with specific comments you receive during a critique, it’s okay to ask for other opinions, too. Baltimore is filled with great designers who are willing to help and who love to give a good critique. There are also online resources like Dribbble or Behance that you can log into and share your work with others around the globe. Anyone, even a non-designer friend or coworker whom you trust to give honest and constructive feedback, can be a good resource. And, a good round of feedback is always better than no feedback at all
Barely a day goes by without drones being in the news for one reason or another. Every so often those stories are negative in nature: Pilots flying where they shouldn’t, that kind of thing. But the vast majority feature interesting applications that are changing the way we do business.
Here are a few industries benefiting from adopting drone technology.
Construction companies are using drones to carry out a range of tasks: mapping out sites to help with project planning, providing an aerial view of progress as builds move forward, and inspecting infrastructure along the way.
Drones are performing construction tasks faster, for less and with more efficiency. And in some cases they are preventing humans from being put at risk.
In a competitive real estate market, first impressions are important. Listings need to stand out from the crowd and premium properties have to come with premium marketing material.
Drones give agents a way to capture real estate in a memorable way from a unique perspective, highlighting key features in a manner that wouldn’t be possible from the ground.
With a few simple shots, a skilled pilot can bring a real estate listing to life.
Alongside commercial use cases in traditional industries, drones have started to capture the imagination of the public in ways that could prove to be lucrative.
These include the setup of professional drone racing organizations, such as DRL, which have won multi-million dollar sponsorship deals and taken drone racing worldwide with international fixtures.
We’ve also seen the rise of drone light shows, largely from tech giant Intel. These aerial displays feature hundreds of LED-carrying drones, flying in sync and creating dazzling performances that many think will replace fireworks in the long run.
Police, firefighters, ambulance crews and search and rescue teams around the world are all beginning to adopt drone technology.
Police are using drones to gather intel, provide situational awareness, monitor traffic violations and more. Firefighters are combining optical imaging with thermal cameras to better understand blazes and spot signs of life during rescue efforts. Several companies are using drones to deliver medical supplies and even emergency equipment, such as defibrillators.
Search and rescue teams worldwide are looking to drones to cover more ground during missions and relying on high definition video streams and thermal cameras to locate people in danger.
First, they rely on a drone’s mobility to cover ground quickly. Second, they help to ensure that first responders aren’t themselves put at risk in dangerous environments. And third, they provide an eye in the sky that saves lives through the use of aerial imagery.
Researchers around the world are finding uses for drone technology, too.
Mostly these involve gathering data in ways that would be dangerous, costly or impossible without the help of a drone.
Examples include mapping out rainforests to keep track of deforestation, mapping out wetlands to monitor mosquito movements and help prevent the spread of malaria, and using drones as a countermeasure against illegal poaching.
In some cases, drones are having a more direct role: Ocean Alliance uses them to fly above whales and collect biological samples from the animals’ blow; UK conservation group The Plastic Tide is combining drones with AI to measure and document the amount of plastic waste on beaches.
These are just a handful of examples outlining who is using drones and why. If you want to start your own journey in the industry, check out our pilots’ page today.
In smart cities around the world, unmanned systems are being tested and deployed to quickly collect, aggregate, analyze and deliver highly accurate and highly detailed data: the foundation of a smart city.
In smart cities around the world, unmanned systems are being tested and deployed to quickly collect, aggregate, analyze and deliver highly accurate and highly detailed data: the foundation of a smart city. This data facilitates applications that improve operations, engage residents and support communities.
Worldwide spending on the technologies that enable smart city initiatives are expected to reach $80 billion in 2018 and climb to $135 billion by 2021, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
At least some of that investment will be in systems that gather data safely, quickly and accurately, such as drones.
Public agencies from North America to New Zealand are taking advantage of these small, but powerful devices to connect our world.
Located in the south-east corner of New Zealand’s North Island, the Tararua District is likely not the first location that comes to mind when talking ‘smart cities.’ The district’s constellation of tiny towns – total population of 17,800 – is spread over 4,300 km² of rugged farming and forestry land, slotted between the Ruahine mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Despite its remote location and small population size, the Tararua District Council is a leader in Oceania in its use of drone-captured data to inform and engage its citizens.
The Tararua District Council is responsible for both the day-to-day management of services like trash and recycling, and bigger-picture planning such as emergency management, transportation systems, and water and wastewater. The Council has a long history of seeking ways to improve connections to its citizenry — largely because of its vast service area. The underpinning of that effort has been wireless connectivity, which facilitates all forms of current and future IoT possibilities. Already, district agencies use the wireless network to capture telemetry data about water supplies, sewer systems, roads, and bridges.
Rock walling on Waitahora Road on Pix4Dmapper- courtesy of Tararua District Council
More recently, the Tararua District Council has been working with agencies to test and deploy drone-based mapping technology for a variety of applications. Aerial data is captured with drones and used to update the district-wide GIS, capture infrared photos for carbon model analysis, track construction project progress and for large bridge inspections.
Blair Rogers, Master Business Systems’ GIS Consultant to the Tararua District Council, says, “The Council is very progressive. Their goal is to un-tie otherwise isolated data and make it available to the entire organization and, where possible, to the community. They see drones as the ideal vehicle to support all manner of services.”
Key in realizing the value of the drone-gathered data is the ability to easily and quickly develop and share images. That’s where Pix4Dmapper comes in. Rogers explains: “Pix4Dmapper lets us produce all manner of outputs from highly accurate orthomosaics to 3D models to traditional contour and terrains maps to name a few. Typically, we post-process with Pix4Dmapper, upload the data to online publishing platforms and share the data with the council, stakeholders and the community.”
The imagery is used to map areas of local historical interest (such as the Settler’s Cemetery, where townspeople were buried between the 1880s and the 1950s), and to create 3D models for publicity. More urgently, drones are used to capture images of slips on the district’s network of rural roads, and where streams have scoured their banks to threaten the streets, allowing transport issues to be resolved faster.
Rogers believes drone imagery and reliable, post-processing software will be most valuable during emergencies and in responding to disasters such as floods or earthquakes. He adds, “The Council has to work 24/7. If there’s a weather event on a weekend, we’re expected to respond — we can’t wait until Monday morning for an outside service provider to give us the data. With Pix4D, we process on-demand and fast.”
The power and potential of these systems for data capture is so high that the council has created a permanent drone operator position. This individual has the equipment, software and funding to acquire data whenever and wherever needed.
Rogers believes that it won’t be long before every engineer in the council district has a drone, adding, “Within a few years, maybe sooner, these devices will be another tool in the toolbox, as relevant as a telephone or total station.”
Explore the Waitahora Road on the Tararua District here.
Mapping towns of all sizes
Across the U.S., cities and towns of all sizes are looking to improve connections with residents and business owners.
GEO Jobe UAV, a geospatial data provider based in Nashville, Tennessee, has a seat front-and-center of the smart cities evolution in the U.S. The firm provides high-resolution digital mapping products such as ortho-aerial maps, topographic data and models to public sector clients in local and county governments, as well as private sector clients in the engineering, construction, utilities and land surveying industries.
Jeff Lawrence, UAV Business Development for GEO Jobe, says, “As a service provider in the drone market, we’re seeing a whirlwind of interest from communities interested in using aerial data for a wide variety of applications from improving asset management to programming bus routes.”
Lawrence points to a project Geo Jobe recently completed for the owner of a resort community in Florida. The 9 km² property is essentially a small city with residential, commercial and recreational facilities such as golf courses along with almost a kilometer of beachfront. The client wanted a high-resolution map to better assess potential stormwater issues.
“It used to be that mapping contours at less than 3 meters above sea level was highly problematic because it’s so flat,” says Lawrence. “Not with drone and advanced sensor technology. In areas with elevation change, we can easily achieve one foot [30cm contours]. In this case, the owner wanted 6 inch [15cm] contour maps — and we were able to do that as well.”
Combined with data gathered on the ground with handheld GPS units, the owner now has a comprehensive map of drains, manhole covers and the pipes that will be used to manage the infrastructure assets.
Now, that same owner is looking to compile other layers of GIS data like local zoning ordinances, mosquito spraying programs and working on community engagement applications. If there’s a flash flood or a backed-up storm drain, a resident could simply tap into the community app to report the incident. Or the property maintenance team can push out information such as the beginning of a flood mitigation program or areas impacted by a recent rain event to alert residents and business owners.
Parcel map – courtesy of Geo Jobe UAV
Lawrence adds, “The basemap becomes a two-way source of conversation and connection between the community public works team and residents and businesses.”
Even for communities that are not yet addressing smart city applications, drone mapping capabilities are helping set the foundation for the future. Consider the town of Tiptonville, which sits between the Missouri river and Reelfoot lake in northwest Tennessee. Tiptonville covers barely 3.5 km² and is home to less than 5,000 people. The small town is growing: the number of people living in Tiptonville almost doubled between the year 2000 and 2010, and the growth brought with it all the engineering challenges of any population boom.
Still too small for a public works department, Tiptonville relies on engineering consultants and drones to support the operations and maintenance of sewer and water utilities. Looking ahead to opportunities to better understand, manage and upgrade their infrastructure, town leaders hired Geo Jobe to develop a high-resolution ortho map of the town’s water utility infrastructure.
Utility map – courtesy of Geo Jobe UAV
Geo Job’s Lawrence believes the ability to quickly and affordably develop a micro-GIS is one of the greatest advantages of drone technology for smaller municipalities. He adds, “Before drones and high quality microsensors, Tiptonville would have had to hire a plane to develop a topographic map—and they would have been lucky to get two foot [60cm] contours, for a much higher cost and then it would have taken several months to produce.”
Geo Jobe was able to develop the topo map of the town with 30cm contours in a couple hours, post-process the data within Pix4Dmapper and deliver the ortho image within a week.
Lawrence concludes, “Mapping with drone-based sensors and flexible, fast post-processing tools is an affordable way to create basemaps and build a GIS for a fraction of what it used to cost. For small towns like Tiptonville, it doesn’t make sense to fly a plane. Drones can do it faster, cheaper and more accurately —thereby opening the door to smart city initiatives in communities of all sizes.”
Smart tech, smart city
A city doesn’t have to be big to be smart. What matters is the technology driving the change. With Pix4D, mapping has never been more flexible, affordable or accessible. Small cities like Tiptonville and the Tararua District are leading the way with agile and inventive uses of the new technology, proving that no matter what the size of the town, it can be smart.