31 Mar

Metageography of the Internet

MediengeographieAn article of mine, entitled “The Metageography of the Internet: Mapping from Web 1.0 to 2.0” was just published in Mediengeographie: Theorie – Analyse – Diskussion.  It’s an amazing collection, with articles from Bruno Latour, Paul Virilio, Lev Manovich, Saskia Sassen, and many more.  Of course, for all of you who don’t speak German, only a few of the articles are actually in English.  Sadly, my ability to converse on a 3rd grade level in German doesn’t allow me to read (or understand) what appear to be fascinating articles.

04 Jan

Urban Informatics

Journal coverA special issue of Information, Communication and Society just hit the stands and it’s worth a mention here. Yeah, yeah, I have an article in it, but more importantly, it’s a fantastic collection of work on the topic of “Urban Informatics: Software, Cities, and the New Cartographies of Knowing Capitalism.” Here’s the table of contents:

  • Mike Crang & Stephen Graham, “Sentient Cities: ambient intelligence and the politics of urban space”
  • Rowland Atkinson & Paul Willis, “Charting the ludochrome: the mediation of urban and simulated space and the rise of the flaneur electronique”
  • David Beer, “Tune out: music, soundscapes and the urban mise-en-scene”
  • Michael Hardey, “The city in the age of Web 2.0: a new synergistic relationship between place and people”
  • Eric Gordon, “Mapping digital networks: from cyberspace to Google”
  • Simon Parker, Emma Uprchard & Roger Burrows, “Class places and place classes: geodemographics and the spatialization of class”
  • Andy C. Pratt, Rosalind Gill & Volker Spelthann, “Work and the city in the e-society: a critical investigation of the sociospatially situated character of economic production in the digital content industries in the UK”
  • Nicholas Pleace, “Workless people and the surveillant mashups: social policy and data sharing in the UK”

Unfortunately, IC&S is not available online, so these articles might remain obscure to those without access to a research library. Seems a shame, especially considering the theme of the issue. We might be closer than ever to urban data, but academic knowledge remains quite distant.

That aside, it’s a privilege to have my work included in this excellent volume. And as I read through the journal and familiarize myself with the various projects, I hope that the issue sparks a greater debate about the politics of urban informatics – its potential benefits to democratic engagement and its potential risks to personal privacy and freedoms.

05 Dec

Networked Place

This essay, written by Kazys Varnelis and Anne Friedberg, is an introductory statement on the change role of place in network culture.  They break the work up into six sections: place (simultaneous spaces), mobile place (the rise of the tele-cocoon), real virtual worlds, the network and its sociospatial consequences, geospatial web and locative media, and RFID.  The piece is part of a collaborative book to be published by MIT that will incorporate user comments from the website.  It’s quite a good introduction, borrowing from Friedberg’s recently released Virtual Window, and applying it to the always contentious intersection of networks and lived spaces. 
    The conclusion of the piece provides a nice roadmap of where the larger work will go.  It will explore,

"global connections versus local disconnections, the growth of
environments that allow us to enact simultaneous ‘real’ presence while
engaging in networked forms of tele-presence, producing new forms of
tele-cocooning, the emergence of on-line gaming in virtual worlds that
have become, to its users, quite real, the network as a new form
socio-spatial organization, global information (GIS) and global
positioning (GPS) devices that provide mastery over the mappable globe,
RFIDs that keep track of our position, and the position of our things
in this new globally-networked map."

The key question is how people continue to make places central to their personal and community identifications.  But what this introduction doesn’t exactly address is how networks alter the nature of that identification.  In other words, what counts as a lasting connection in a network?  Certainly, a link is not permanent; how might we conceptualize a meaningful link?  Or a meaningful tag?  Or a meaningful cluster? 

Link: Networked Place.

29 Aug

Flickr adds Geotagging option

This new feature from flickr just continues the trend towards emplacing data.  Geotagging is just another form of organizing data – using the world as file cabinet.  It takes the abstraction of maps, or what I’ve called metageography, and replaced it with a sense of locality.  It’s like always knowing where that scrap of paper is.

Link: Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection.

10 Apr

Wired News: Aerial Imaging Swoops Low Down

Instead of just the straight-down views that distant satellites
gather, a small company called Pictometry International has developed
an oblique-imaging, geo-spatial system to snap vast swaths of America’s
varied landscape at a 40-degree angle from a few thousand feet in the

At the click of a mouse, its unique measuring software can dissect
the longitude, latitude, elevation and precise dimensions of every
discernible landmark, from fire hydrants in Chicago to lilac trees in
Rochester to the levees of New Orleans before and after Hurricane

Link: Wired News: Aerial Imaging Swoops Low Down.

27 Feb

Television and Google Maps

HBO is getting into the Google Mash-up game.  As a promotional tool for the new season of The Sopranos, you can view scences from the upcoming season plotted onto a map.  How is this fictional mapping different from the story mapping that is taking place in so much digital art?  Aren’t both dissecting narrative and plotting into spatial coordinates?  In fact, the depth of experience one might comprehend in an episode of the Sopranos is perhaps greater than what one might possess in a personal story.

Link: HBO: The Sopranos: Behind the Scenes: Sopranos Maps.