#geowebchat transcript: 5 November 2013: Are we entering an age of democratized maps?


@mappingmashups Nov 03, 8:41pm Next #geowebchat, Tue Nov 5 12pm PT: Are we entering an age of democratized maps? Followup on #GloUH conference: globalurbanhumanities.berkeley.edu/mapping-and-it…

@mappingmashups Nov 04, 3:24pm Reminder, tomorrow on #geowebchat we’re discussing “the democratization of maps”. Hype or reality? 12pm PT, Tues Nov 5.

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 10:40am Are we entering an age of democratized maps? What are the limits of vernacular cartography? Join the #geowebchat today, 12pm PST. Pls RT!

@ajturner Nov 05, 10:43am @mappingmashups sorry I won’t be able to make it. Giving the keynote at #EsriCanadaUC on just that topic! #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:00pm Welcome everybody to today’s #geowebchat. Today’s topic: Are we entering an age of democratized maps? Or are we not? What would that mean?

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:01pm If you want to join the #geowebchat, I suggest tweetchat.com/room/geowebchat or twitterfall.com. Be sure to add the hashtag to each tweet!

@JessiBreen Nov 05, 12:02pm Hi! #geowebchat

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:02pm @mappingmashups Hi everyone! Jacq from Calgary here. Looking forward to today’s #geowebchat. It will be my last for a while. 1/2

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:02pm And if you want to ignore our twitter conversation, try using a twitter client that can mute hashtags. But I hope you won’t! #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:03pm The cartographer in me worries that it means the end of cartographic standards. #geowebchat @mappingmashups

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:03pm As you know I’ve been participating & collecting #geowebchat tweets for my PhD research. Taking a break now to complete data analysis. 2/2

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:03pm Democratized mapping is great, but if people don’t know what to do with the data, it’s more dangerous that any other media. #geowebchat

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:03pm Hope to tune in to #geowebchat again in the future. More details about my research- informallearningonline.webs.com Msg me with any concerns/comments

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:04pm Jetzt #geowebchat mit @mappingmashups, hochrelevant für #ddj/#ddjch: Are we entering an age of democratised maps? What would it mean?

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:04pm Some #geowebchat context: at the Mapping and its Discontents symposium (seethroughmaps.wordpress.com/our-symposium/) this topic came up… #geowebchat #GloUH

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:06pm …Denis Wood argued we’re still in the era of mapping as a tool of the state (mainly from 1500 to the present & perhaps beyond) #geowebchat

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:06pm @PatrickMeier are you participating in todays #geowebchat? Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic – irevolution.net/2013/03/17/neo…

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:06pm .@AndrewShears just like vaccine scares. Huge potential for misinterpreting map data #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:06pm Threats: mishandled/-represented data or obfuscation of relevant info by noise? #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:07pm Others at the conf thought that perhaps “the popularization of mapping” or “vernacular mapping” might better describe today #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:07pm Where are we on #Gartner’s hype cycle re: democratised, or democratisation of, mapping? gartner.com/technology/res… #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:08pm .@mappingmashups We’re in the era of mapping as a tool of the corporation. It’s the Google-ization of everything #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:08pm @JacqInTheBooks It’s been great having you participate in #geowebchat these last few months. Looking forward to seeing your results!

@skorasaurus Nov 05, 12:09pm .@rastrau – imho, we’re still @ the trigger, gartner.com/technology/res… as tech. improves & creates new uses/opportunities #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:09pm @re_sieber Yes, Rebecca Solnit had many choice quotes making that same point at the conference. #geowebchat

@ajturner Nov 05, 12:09pm wide availability of Excel spreadsheets did not end accounting or CPA profession /cc @AndrewShears @mappingmashups #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:09pm @re_sieber @mappingmashups @petewarden had an interesting post on that: petewarden.com/2013/09/09/why… #geowebchat

@erictheise Nov 05, 12:09pm is the meaning of “democratized mapping” obvious? not sure if it means voting on maps or access to creation/distribution tools #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:10pm .@rastrau We’ve not reached peak hype vv the democratization of maps. Else I’d probably have no students #geowebchat

@vtcraghead Nov 05, 12:10pm @mappingmashups Misread that as “The polarization of mapping” and I was all “Whoa – that’s heavy!” Then I re-read it. #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:10pm Tho despite the power of Google, Wood argued that gov maps for redistricting & schools (forex) have greater effect on our lives #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:11pm Are we really democratizing mapmaking if most of the people still can’t read a map with a critical eye? #geowebchat

@vtcraghead Nov 05, 12:11pm @ajturner @AndrewShears @mappingmashups Ahem. Maybe too bad. zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-1… #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:11pm @erictheise No the meaning of “democratized mapping” is not obvious. Today we can debate what it means. If it means anything. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:12pm .@erictheise Does democratization mean usage or impact on policy that affects lives. I think latter. Former is smokescreen #geowebchat

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:12pm @erictheise Good question. I was looking at it from an access and ability to create/share perspective. #geowebchat

@vtcraghead Nov 05, 12:13pm @mappingmashups Our city just redistricted in the open, with non-specialists coming up with the final map. Google helped. #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:13pm depends. Google has allocative power, government authoritative. People make emergency calls based on G geoinfo @mappingmashups #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:13pm Still digital and other divide. Many still can’t read maps, don’t have luxury to make maps. Democratized? Maybe not. #geowebchat

@erictheise Nov 05, 12:13pm i wonder where the notion of voting for maps (say, approval voting vs. simple majority) would lead, is there a precedent? #geowebchat

@erictheise Nov 05, 12:14pm these are the maps that speak for me! #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:14pm GeoCities : Web Design :: Democratized Mapping : ___________? #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 12:14pm @ajturner @AndrewShears @mappingmashups nor did MS Word end good literature – quality will win out #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:14pm .@erictheise How voting for maps? Voting on Cong dist redesign? #geowebchat

@JacqInTheBooks Nov 05, 12:15pm @re_sieber Agreed & digital divide is not just about those who can access the tech, but having the skills to interpret & use it #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:15pm .@AngharadStone @ajturner @mappingmashups But, democratization of info (say via WWW) has led to LOTS of junk to wade through. #geowebchat

@erictheise Nov 05, 12:15pm @AndrewShears what if a ballot measure had maps instead of text? #geowebchat

@JessiBreen Nov 05, 12:15pm @JacqInTheBooks @re_sieber Super important point! #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:15pm @erictheise Perhaps Google Maps is the tyranny of the majority? But now we have a version of GMaps customized for each of us… #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:16pm Democratizing maps also means not enforcing conformity of scales, symbols, legends. E.g., Children’s maps are scale-variant #geowebchat

@mhaklay Nov 05, 12:16pm @mappingmashups in an era where multi-nationals are de-facto government (lobby power, regulation, tax …) isn’t it the same? #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:16pm @erictheise @AndrewShears Today’s SF ballot measures on the waterfront development did have maps! #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:17pm .@mappingmashups @erictheise It’s also tyranny of the satellite image, which isn’t a reflection of our lived experience #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:18pm .@erictheise Can’t even imagine the political posturing that would occur over a map in the ballot…. #geowebchat

@erictheise Nov 05, 12:18pm @mappingmashups personalized google maps = tyranny of narcissism and rut-deepening? #geowebchat

@mhaklay Nov 05, 12:18pm I don’t see a difference if the most powerful undemocratic actor (use to be the state, now web companies) are calling the shots #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:18pm .@AndrewShears IDeditor? Geocommons? Mapbox? <doubtful> #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:19pm .@mappingmashups @erictheise Maps also suggest we have connection to community we live in. Counterexample guys on the Google Bus #geowebchat

@mhaklay Nov 05, 12:21pm Oops have to board a place to Vlinius and miss the rest of #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:22pm Production of maps can’t be fully democratized because there’s (even still) such a high cost of entry… #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:22pm .@erictheise @mappingmashups hmm, perhaps there is an argument for the community map, the shared vision #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 12:22pm @re_sieber It doesn’t matter if the sea isn’t blue, it does matter if the sea is marked as land #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:23pm .@AndrewShears Don’t you know that the entry barrier is gone? If you can’t use modern map GUI; it’s your problem </not> #geowebchat

@davidheyman Nov 05, 12:24pm We’ve had democratized map-making for a while. Cartography and map-design is still the domain of experts (not cartographers) #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:24pm @AngharadStone You got me there. Metadata still matters in democratization of maps #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:26pm Heh. Democratization via openness shut down by “community.” @mappingmashups @re_sieber #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:26pm .@davidheyman YES. We’re deluded that mapmaking is democratized but tools don’t automatically deliver compelling cartography #geowebchat

@awoodruff Nov 05, 12:26pm Not to be #rude, but the last time I recall seeing worry about “democratized” mapping was, like, 2008. This is still a thing? #geowebchat

@michael_d_gould Nov 05, 12:27pm I think i missed the problem that needs to be solved. #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:28pm No tool can ever be a cartographer. (except for me…) #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:29pm @awoodruff Maybe geogs have moved past the debate, but I was surprised how the crowd at this conf (many planners) was into it. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:29pm .@awoodruff Ground Truth has never left us. We’re better deluded now in thinking that maps are democratized (only half kidding) #geowebchat

@JessiBreen Nov 05, 12:30pm @mappingmashups @awoodruff Wait, did we give up? Since it wasn’t solved. #geowebchat

@joeeckert Nov 05, 12:30pm .@JessiBreen @mappingmashups @awoodruff Academics don’t give up. They just get bored. XD #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:31pm @re_sieber @awoodruff Or we (as crit geogs) decided right away that “of course nothing is democratized” & settled it that way… #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:31pm In mapping, we focus on viz but real challenge is in data analysis. How can we democratize that? #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:32pm @joeeckert @JessiBreen @mappingmashups @awoodruff Academics don’t give up. They just get bored. #SadButTrue #geowebchat

@joeeckert Nov 05, 12:32pm .@re_sieber Oh, /r/theoryofreddit is that-a-way. Check out /r/dataisbeautiful while you’re there. ;) #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:34pm . @re_sieber Not sure it’s possible. Barrier to entry comes back. Great that tools are free, but where’s free data training? #geowebchat

@joeeckert Nov 05, 12:34pm .@re_sieber Also interesting that we use this “we” word as though academics will suddenly bring democratization to the masses. #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:35pm @re_sieber [channeling Denis Wood] the power of maps lies in naming things & bringing them into being, not necessarily analysis #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:35pm .@AndrewShears @re_sieber MOOCs, stackoverflow, github et al. may offer some, but often the entry barrier is still quite high.. #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 12:35pm @re_sieber So how do we make people want to do #MetaData ? for better data leading to better data analysis #geowebchat

@cartoprof Nov 05, 12:36pm @awoodruff Morrison wrote on public acces, paradigm shifts, & the ‘democratization’ of cart in 1997 #geowebchat books.google.com/books?id=rJkP8…

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:36pm .@mappingmashups @re_sieber But doesn’t analysis also bring “things” (clusters, etc) into being? Bad analysis = false things. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:37pm @AndrewShears Yes. We need data training for mapping. See this divide btwn coders and non- @ hackathons all the time #geowebchat

@alogicalfallacy Nov 05, 12:37pm access to data itself is a huge divide in not just mapping, but coding and analytics in general. #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:37pm @cartoprof Hello Prof. Academic Cartography, welcome! So you’re the one we’ve been talking about. :) #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:38pm .@re_sieber Of course, I think that training should start in primary levels (reading maps critically) but unlikely to happen. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:38pm .@joeeckert Converse is that academics detached from masses. Academics do have role/responsibility in community outreach re maps #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:39pm @cartoprof Have you met @PostPostGIS? #geowebchat

@CostanzaAsnaghi Nov 05, 12:39pm Don’t you think that a tool such as Google Maps or localization for your pics contributed towards the democratization of maps? #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:38pm .@AndrewShears @mappingmashups @re_sieber or remove them. Think generalisation as a type of ‘analysis’. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:40pm .@mappingmashups I won’t back down. Maps are more than cartography (sorry, Denis Wood) #geowebchat

@kennethfield Nov 05, 12:40pm Many classic maps were made by non cartos so it’s always been democratised. Diff now is lower entry thresholds make it easier #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:41pm .@rastrau @mappingmashups @re_sieber Only possible solution: require all kids to read “How to Lie With Maps” in kindergarten… #geowebchat

@rastrau Nov 05, 12:41pm .@AngharadStone @re_sieber I think there’s only one way: enabling them to analyse and then understand the *need* for metadata #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:41pm .@rastrau @AndrewShears agreed that MOOCs, stackoverflow, github, codeacademy et al. are good starts in data literacy #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:42pm .@AngharadStone ‘how do we make people want to do #MetaData ?’ V tough. If I knew, I’d be head of USGS #geowebchat

@alogicalfallacy Nov 05, 12:42pm Everything I make is open-source, but that doesn’t mean it’s democratic. Relationship between my politics and my code is complex #geowebchat

@awoodruff Nov 05, 12:43pm @mappingmashups @re_sieber Ha! And I think the web mappers decided the opposite. #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:44pm .@AndrewShears @rastrau @mappingmashups “How to Lie with Maps” is the “Goodnight Moon” for cartographers #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:45pm .@rastrau @AngharadStone #opendata may help reinforce need for metadata. If we move from RDBMS to xml, that can embed metadata #geowebchat

@AndrewShears Nov 05, 12:45pm Crap, class time. Bye #geowebchat!

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:47pm .@AndrewShears @rastrau @mappingmashups “How to Lie with Maps” is the “Goodnight Moon” for critical geographers #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 12:48pm @re_sieber @rastrau Tools that force extra effort (metadata) reduce input there for less democratic #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:50pm Democratization shudnt be confused w improved service delivery. Just bc my life is easier w GoogleMaps doesn’t mean it’s democ #geowebchat

@kirkgoldsberry Nov 05, 12:52pm @kennethfield best maps I’ve seen in the last 5 years have all been made by the “unwashed” Come on down from the mount, y’all #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:52pm Part of map literacy is knowing potential uses. Think of stereotyped GPS users who follow blindly & that’s all they know of maps #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:54pm Unanswered is the role of the slick product in the democratization of maps. If it looks pretty,official does it have more power? #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 12:54pm @mappingmashups Good #Geowebchat tonight. Great points relevant to current work making tools for others to make own web map serivces

@CostanzaAsnaghi Nov 05, 12:54pm @mappingmashups Isn’t that a consequence of people’s relationship with improved service delivery? @re_sieber #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:55pm @re_sieber Yes, and by same token do grassroots maps need to have same slickness to debate gov/corp maps on the same stage? #geowebchat

@kennethfield Nov 05, 12:55pm Good maps. Bad maps. Cartos. Non cartos. Open. Proprietary. Call it what you like… people make maps. Not complicated #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:56pm …or must democratized/grassroots/alternative maps look different to emphasize their contrast with authoritative views? #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:56pm .@CostanzaAsnaghi Maybe #firstworldproblems that some equate service delivery w democratization? #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 12:57pm .@mappingmashups My experience is yes: grassroots maps need to have same or better slickness 2debate gov/corp maps on same stage #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 12:57pm Well, we are wrapping up our hour here on #geowebchat. Any last thoughts?

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 1:00pm Next #geowebchat will be at the same time in 2 weeks, November 19. Transcript of this chat will be posted here: mappingmashups.net/geowebchat

@kirkgoldsberry Nov 05, 1:00pm @mappingmashups academic geographers own mapmaking about as much as English majors own the novel… Thank God on both accounts #geowebchat

@AngharadStone Nov 05, 1:00pm @mappingmashups Just because you can’t access the tech tools, you could still produce a successful map – old school #geowebchat

@re_sieber Nov 05, 1:00pm .@mappingmashups Did we answer the question whether modern mapping is more democratic? #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 1:00pm @re_sieber Did we try to answer it? :) #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 1:03pm To summarize, sounds like we agree that more people can make maps, but there’s work to be done to make tools more accessible #geowebchat

@michael_d_gould Nov 05, 1:04pm @mappingmashups Ohhh, now i see: democratized maps are non-authoritative. #yawn #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 1:04pm …but also most of us seemed uncomfortable with calling it democratic, and many feel Google rules maps as much as govs do/did. #geowebchat

@cartoprof Nov 05, 1:10pm @kirkgoldsberry Academic geographers have been teaching mapmaking since the 1920s. Teaching ≠ Owning. #geowebchat

@haileypate Nov 05, 1:12pm +1 & more OSM tutorials needed also! MT @mappingmashups: more people can make maps; need to make tools more accessible #geowebchat

@MikeDuggan4 Nov 05, 1:12pm There is a democracy in use and a democracy of politics at play. More use doesn’t necessarily mean more democratic. #geowebchat

@jscarto Nov 05, 1:26pm @kennethfield + I’d argue focus on Google from neos is what gave impression of “power,” while others continued making own maps #geowebchat

@mappingmashups Nov 05, 1:33pm @migurski Yeah, I guess so. This is why I normally don’t try to summarize #geowebchat in two tweets!

@kennethfield Nov 05, 1:46pm Maps just same as most other stuff the internet has ‘democratised’. Enabler of mass production, dissemination & consumption #geowebchat

@pinakographos Nov 05, 2:29pm I’m late to the #geowebchat but “democratization” is a term that the privileged pat themselves on the back with. geog970.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/a-l…

@pinakographos Nov 05, 2:31pm Anyone can make a map. If they have the time and tools, which are still luxuries for much of the world. #geowebchat

@mattmoehr Nov 05, 2:35pm @pinakographos whoa. From the way back machine. #geowebchat

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