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Maps and mapping: socio-cultural meanings and spatial practices

3b70dd1f7ffee495f10c156a0955ed10?s=47 Hiyashi
October 16, 2015

Maps and mapping: socio-cultural meanings and spatial practices

Slides for my lecture on the 16th of October 2015 at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK.



October 16, 2015


  1. Maps and Mapping: Meanings & Spatial Practices Dr. Yuwei Lin

    Course Leader for BA (Hons) Media and Communications & BA (Hons) Media and Creative Writing School of Film, Media and Performing Arts University for the Creative Arts UK
  2. Outline • Knowledge of Place, a geography of knowledgeable practice

    • Maps – Tools (clarity and precision) – Icon, Iconography, Iconology – Representation of ideology, culture, viewpoint • Mapping – Looking and moving (knowledge making) – Spatial and social practices
  3. Maps are technical instruments that carry utility.

  4. Navigation

  5. Visualisation

  6. Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

  7. Maps as media texts.

  8. Maps and Signs Icons, Signs, Symbols, Meanings – Signifiers and

  9. How meanings are generated, conveyed and received? • Meanings are

    produced through the complex negotiations that make up the social process and practices through which we produce and interpret images. (Sturken & Cartwright 2009: 49) • The production of meaning involves: – The image itself – Its producer – The codes and conventions that structure the image and that cannot be separated from the content of the image – The viewers and how they interpret or experience the image – The contexts in which an image is exhibited and viewed
  10. Map as Texts • History of the Tube Map •

    Harry Beck's London Tube Map as an iconic design • Alternative tube maps http://www.project ews/londonundergro un.html
  11. Maps are political statements that inform and express our identities.

  12. Psalter Map (1260)

  13. Plan de Mérian (1615)

  14. Plan de Turgot (1734-6)

  15. Americentricism - America centric World Map

  16. Eurocentricism - A UK-centric World Map

  17. Let's play a game - “Spot New Zealand”

  18. None
  19. Contested borders

  20. Maps are art works.

  21. Antique Map of London

  22. Cartographic decorations • Makrostergiou, Anna (2015) 'Artistic decorations in early

    modern cartography: a study case of maps of the Dutch Golden Age'. TU Wien. ( • Cartographic decorations reached their peak in cartographic publishing during the Dutch Golden Age because of the sociopolitical, cultural, artistic, scientific and technological context of the Low Countries in that time. • Decorations structured in cartouches and marginalia and decorations spread all over the sea surface are analysed through a visual description and an iconographic and historical analysis.
  23. Storytelling – Lord of the Ring

  24. Satirical Map of Europe

  25. Maps are cultural products, an incarnation of our emotions and

  26. Memory maps

  27. Drawings and Illustrations of Maps Drawings on antique atlas by

    Fernando Vicente Illustrated map by May Van Millingen
  28. Digital maps, augmented maps, maps with extra data overlaid

  29. Map of Benjamin Brecknell Turner's photographs

  30. Maps are games.

  31. Geocaching - high-tech treasure hunts - • an exciting outdoor

    adventure • What you need: a handheld GPS (E.g., Garmin GPS devices) and a sense of fun • A geocache or ‘cache’ is a small waterproof treasure box hidden outdoors. Geocachers seek out these hidden goodies guided by a GPS enabled device which uses coordinates, or ‘waypoints’ downloaded from or • Or you can download a free geocaching mobile phone app.
  32. Rules of Geocaching • So once you’ve found the treasure

    box, you'll discover a log book for you to leave a message in (and of course you'll also have the satisfaction of finding the box, a reward in itself). • The box may also contain a strange array of trinkets that people have left to swap. If you take a treasure out of the box, you should leave another trinket in its place, so come prepared.
  33. Getting started • You will need a GPS device (or

    smart phone) - don't forget batteries • Find a cache near you on (you will need to sign up) • Choose a cache and enter the co- ordinates into your GPS • Follow your GPS towards the spot - then use your wits to find it • Fill out the log book and return the cache to its hiding place • Log your find on, and pick your next one!
  34. The Playfulness and the (unexpected / accidental) interaction

  35. Maps are social products.

  36. The lone cartographer?

  37. Collaborative and Social Professional vs. Amateur

  38. Authoritative vs. Playful

  39. Personal experiences, Local / tacit knowledge, memories, identities, belongings, emotions,

    ideologies, philosophies. Maps as embodied artefacts
  40. • Crowdsourcing • Participatory • Free/Open Source • Wikification of

  41. Women who made OpenStreetMap | FLOSSIE 2013 | 8-9 November

    2013 | London 41
  42. Geograph and Geographing • geographically representative photographs and information •

    Geograph is a concept and open source code for a online website to create a comprehensive collection of photographs capturing every part of given region. • • •
  43. Locative Media • Geo-referenced information • Geo retailing, location-based marketing

  44. Crisis Mapping / Humanitarian Mapping Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

  45. OSM for the Blind • _blind • Software

    and maps for the blind is usually expensive and also outdated. The blind community can help themselves update the maps.
  46. Who are the OpenStreetMap mappers? What do they do? How

    do they do what they do? Why do they do what they do? When do they do what they do? Which community? Which platform? Which tool? Sociological questions
  47. Social interaction and social engagement Mapping parties, Beer (Stammtisch) BBQ

  48. When new houses are built When new shops pop up

    / disappear... When new names arrived... When disaster happened... - new country in Africa - new city plan in Vienna - new shop in town (add POIs) Contexts
  49. Mapping the subject • Object vs. Subject (body, self, person,

    identity, subjectivity) • A system of social relations: e.g., – the body only has meaning as 'labour-power' or 'male', – the self only has meaning in relationship to 'class consciousness' or 'masculine' • The dominant system of meaning and power (e.g., capitalism, patriarchy) → change the system
  50. Mapping is a cognitive process. • Walking, moving • Observing,

    seeing • Classifying, categorising, sorting things out • Linking, associating with our experiences and available knowledge • Knowledge making • Socialising, chatting • Learning, exchanging
  51. Local knowledge needed • Is this shop still there? •

    Where does one road start / end? • Which road is this house on? C/ De Vallbona, or C/ Del Carme? • Where is the entrance to a building? On which street? • Is this traffic sign still valid? - e.g., the old “Piscina” • What does the sign mean? “Ensinistrament de gossos de caca”
  52. How to politicise the current state of OpenStreetMap • How

    to politicise the map? – CCTV - surveilllance – Benches – public seating – Bicycle parking vs. Car parks – Recycling points – Homeless – where do they live? – ATM machines – Parks and green spaces – Public infrastructure: Rubbish bins, Street lights – Sex shops, stripclub – Grafitti? Street arts?
  53. Open Love Map • How to contribute to the Open

    Love Map • How to hack the Open Love/Sex Map? • A “Open Real Love Map”?
  54. Movement and Knowledge • Knowledge is Power (local knowledge, tacit

    knowledge, situated knowledge) • Community can transform knowledge, can configure the movement and knowledge. • Democratisation of knowledge. • Tim Ingold: relations between maps and mapmaking (2000), knowing and going (2009)
  55. Mapping Tips • Photo mapping – Take care not to

    look too shifty while photo mapping a playground. Do it from a distance – – What makes a good photograph? • Readable texts • Spatial references
  56. Photo-mapping

  57. Common sense applies Mind the dogs! Mind the traffic! Mind

    the dog shits! Wear water-proof wind-proof jacket or an umbrella. Bring a bottle of water.
  58. Discussion • Are we losing the ability to read maps

    given the popularity of navigational gadgets? • Discuss your journey to the University today in terms of pace, itinerary, bearing. How did it differ from that on other days?
  59. Exercise • (based on a fictional scenario) The environmental artist

    Iain Mott is going to have an installation at Farnham this weekend. BBC 6 O'clock news has offered you (broadcast journalists) 1-minute air time this evening. Work in a group of four to discuss how you would introduce the event to the audience and encourage them to attend.