Monday, September 29, 2008

Participating in a fieldtrip to Keswick last week, I managed to sneak away one evening to visit Castlerigg stone circle above the town and surrounded by hills.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The edited book, Rethinking Maps, that I have been working on for a good while is nearing completion. Here is the introductory chapter, 'Thinking About Maps', by Rob Kitchin and Chris Perkins.

The book itself will be published by Routledge and will (hopefully) be out next spring. The contents of the book is as follows:

1. Thinking about maps
Rob Kitchin and Chris Perkins

2. Rethinking maps and identity: choropleths, clines and biopolitics
Jeremy Crampton

3. Rethinking maps from a more-than-human perspective: Nature-society, mapping, and conservation territories
Leila Harris and Helen Hazen

4. Web mapping 2.0
Georg Gartner

5. Modelling the earth: A short history
Michael Goodchild

6. theirwork: the development of sustainable mapping
Dominica Williamson & Emmet Connolly

7. Cartographic representation and the construction of lived worlds: understanding cartographic practice as embodied knowledge
Amy Propen

8. The 39 Steps and the mental map of classical cinema
Tom Conley

9. The emotional life of maps and other visual geographies
Jim Craine and Stuart Aitken

10. Playing with maps
Chris Perkins

11. Ce n’est pas le monde (This is not the world)
John Krygier and Denis Wood

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Call for papers - 2009 Association of American Geographers Annual Conference. 22-27 March 2009, Las Vegas, USA.

Is Google Good for Geography? Web2.0 and the Political Economy of User Generated Geographical Knowledge

Session organisers:

Matthew Zook
Department of Geography, University of Kentucky

Martin Dodge
Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester

The dramatic rise of Web2.0 applications and practices have facilitated the creativity and voluntary collaboration of masses of Internet users, e.g., wikis, folksonomies, mash-ups, tagging, social networking, etc. Of particular interest to Geographers are the evolving forms, functions and scope of spatial referenced information such as local news, reviews, commentaries, recommendations, photographs and maps. Perhaps the highest profile example is GoogleMaps which allows for user generated placemarks and geotagged images, ground-truthing, spatial reviews, etc. and is changing the amount and granularity of information readily available about vernacular places. But widespread user generated data and notations need not translate into valuable knowledge nor is this process neutrally distributed across all places or among all peoples. In short, this session explores where, by whom, about what and how the introduction of Web2.0 applications is producing knowledge about places.

Suggested themes:
We invite theoretically informed analyses questioning the social effects, cultural meanings and political economy of Web2.0 innovations for geography, with particular consideration of the following themes:

# Assessing the real potential of Web2.0 geographical knowledge to encompass alternative voices and richer descriptions of place.

# The perils of Web2.0 geographical knowledge to further the commodification of local places and the marketisation of personal feelings and ideas.

# The politics of the Web2.0 socio-technical infrastructures and corporate structures underpinning the collection and distribution of user generated geographical knowledge.

# The economies of who owns, indexes, aggregates and repackages user generated knowledge about places.

# Consideration of the risks that flow from people's unwitting trust in the truth of Web2.0 geographical knowledge.

# The embodied practices of user generated geographical knowledge and the ways in which these may be associated with social power, e.g. gendered, classed, aged, etc. to create the cultural meanings attached to Web2.0.

# The efficacy of Web2.0 geographical knowledge. How do we evaluate the accuracy and fidelity of new geographical databases, taxonomies and wiki maps?

# The artistic, playful, or subversive potential of the Web2.0 geographical knowledge.

# The ethics of web2.0, particularly relating to individual privacy and community rights. The geo-surveillance potential of Web2.0 for states and corporations.


Proposed papers in the form of a title and short abstract (250 words maximum) should be submitted to Martin Dodge ( by 8th October 2008. Further details on the paper requirements and cost of registration for the AAG meeting are at:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Maps that Matter

A new project to identify the most significant maps, charts and diagrams for geography. Browse our current hits list at:

Chris Perkins and myself put together an initial attempt to narrate something of the impact of our current top 15 examples as a rolling Powerpoint presentation. This was displayed at the Royal Geographical Society last week as part of their Annual International Conference. (You can download a pdf version of the slides from here.)

Comments on our current selection of maps that matter to geography are welcome. We would also appreciate suggestions for other 'classics' diagrams, charts and maps that has influenced geographical theory and practice.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Last week I also did a days trips out on the sailing barge Greta from Whitstable. We went out around the new offshore wind farm and then onto Red Sands WW2 forts. Shame the weather was lousy for much of the day - low grey clouds.....

'Maps as Method' Sessions and 'The Future of the Map' Plenary

At last week's RGS-IBG Annual International Conference I co-organised three paper sessions and a plenary with my colleague Chris Perkins. The sessions were titled 'Maps as Method' and focused on showing how maps can make a positive difference to what we do, and that working through maps can be both creative and emancipatory.

The following 12 papers were presented over three sessions (abstracts for the papers are available here as a Word document).

Session 1:
  • Mashup cartography for data exploration, presented by Aidan Slingsby;
  • Tranquillity matters too - mapping tranquillity, presented by Duncan Fuller;
  • Geography made by outsiders? Maps and the Google generation, presented by Paul Longley
  • Teaching and learning the city through participatory mapping, presented by Kimberly Libman
  • Mental mapping as a methodology, presented by Jen Gieseking
Session 2:
  • Noise to signal ratio - mapping the boundaries of science as art and art as science, presented by Muki Haklay;
  • Getting the words onto the map: walking interviews, rescue geography, presented by Phil Jones;
  • Using maps creatively to more critically understand the creative city, presented by Chris Brennan-Horley;
  • Interactive community mapping in London, presented by Coleen Whitaker;
Session 3:
  • Local-scale vernacular geographies: what matters to whom, and how can we collect it? presented by Laura Green, Clare Davies;
  • Cartography - a discipline of two halves, presented by Mike Smith;
  • A Vision of Britain through Time: Publishing an on-line historical atlas for everyone, presented by Humphrey Southall;
In addition to the paper sessions we also organised a plenary discussion on 'the future of the map' with Ed Parsons (geospatial technologist for Google), Mary Spence (President of British Cartographic Association) and Denis Wood (indepedent cartography theorist and writer). This lively discussion as well as a good deal of media interest (sparked in part by a clever press release written by RGS!).