Adventures in Online Mapping

The session, Adventures in Online Mapping, was held at NACIS yesterday. Here, the panelists were asked to consider how changes in mapping technology/practice are impacting mapping education/educators. Specific topics included: (1) Given the emergence of readily available and dynamic geovisualization online, "What is the future of the map?"; (2) As more parts of daily lives are captured via mobile phone records, CCTV and, most intriguingly, geotagged social media, "What is the future of the mappable?"; (3) Given the emergence of new types of maps and new data on human experience that can be mapped, "How do we continue to teach the key theories and questions in mapping?"; and (4) As online education becomes a standard tool of pedagogy, "How do we ensure that we provide quality mapping education in online settings?" Following similar models of response (here and here), each panelist was asked to prepare in advance a single sentence to respond to these questions.

Panelists: 
Jeremy Crampton, U. of Kentucky
Rich Donohue, U. of Kentucky
Lize Mogel, OurMaps
Anthony Robinson, Penn State U.
Rob Roth, U. of Wisconsin
Matthew W. Wilson, U. of Kentucky
Matthew Zook, U. of Kentucky


1. What is the future of the map?

I’m sure it has many futures, but one I suggest is particularly interesting is not so much the map as an object, but mapping as process. Particularly “geolocational datastreams” that are being created as part of the Internet of Things, and tracing how value is created from the single click or movement into profit, decision-making capabilities, or actionable intelligence!
Jeremy Crampton

The future of the map lies at two ends of a spectrum: on one end we have a very simple, well-designed map that tells a good story, and at the other we have a well-designed interface for exploring complex datasets. What lies in the middle is of short purchase and diminishing interest. 
Rich Donohue

Accessibility. In that people who are affected by mapping -- or decision-making about space in which maps are complicit -- should be able to speak the language of mapmaking and representation of space, use maps for policy advocacy, and make maps themselves.
Lize Mogel

The future map effortlessly synthesizes knowledge about place with the dynamic needs and intentions of the map user.
Anthony Robinson

The future is now regarding interactive, online, and mobile maps, but work remains to enable the complete cartographic design space on the digital platform.
Rob Roth

The map, as an object of representational models of the late 20th century, will continue to fragment under the weight of cognitive capitalism -- where how we pay attention, how we are called to care -- will be the subject of much speculative investment.
Matthew W. Wilson

Matthew Zook


2. What is the future of the mappable?

Very bright! But also very concerning! Supreme Court rulings on surveillance & geolocational privacy leave a very uncertain legal landscape of what is mappable.
Jeremy Crampton

Climate change and energy geographies: it's no longer "map or be mapped," but rather "map or perish."
Rich Donohue

Surveillance and tracking beyond your wildest, paranoid, sci-fi dreams.
Lize Mogel

(Answer 1:) The Cloud Internet of Things UAV Big Data API for Mapbox Studio on Android Eye-Trackers plus whatever the hell CyberGIS is.
(Answer 2:) New analytical methods will help us see and explain what constitutes place and spatial dynamics.
Anthony Robinson

The key issue may be less what we can map and more what we should map. As we increasingly leverage crowdsourced datasets, we need to have a open discussion about what individuals should share and what should remain private.
Rob Roth

The mappable, if they cannot conform to the dictates of a fragmented mapping future, will be cast to the margins -- outside the frame of care -- like the serpents and ocean vessels of maps past.
Matthew W. Wilson

In a word, big data, which is actual two words. So I lied. But maps lie. And what do you know? So does big data. Lots of potential, lots of problems.
Matthew Zook


3. How do we continue to teach the key theories and questions in mapping?

No doubt in many different ways. To answer this question we’d certainly need to know not just who are audience is and what they want, but also how to “authoritatively” provide “trustable” (scholars v. profit-centers) ability to navigate through the geospatial landscape of technologies and concepts. Interesting to note that the tanker which is Esri is slowly turning toward the geoweb, not vice versa!
Jeremy Crampton

The pedagogical ideal of collapsing the distinction between lecture and laboratory components is perhaps more feasible in the web environment than traditional classroom settings.
Rich Donohue

By deliberately diversifying who is setting the questions, who is teaching, and who is learning; and by linking curriculum to learners’ everyday lives and on-the-ground spatial issues.
Lize Mogel

Core cartographic concepts and competencies can be grounded in personalized, location-enabled educational experiences that range in scale from individual learning objects to full-blown programs of study.
Anthony Robinson

Start! We need to think of cartography less as one course in a GIS curriculum, and instead consider a sequence of cartographic courses that cover the entire cartographic design space.
Rob Roth

Perhaps we need new theories that activate cartography, in this neo-Robinsonian moment where the percipient of our map-communication-model has far greater capacity that we give credit.
Matthew W. Wilson

In many ways the theories and questions remain the same but I worry that technical concerns (especially tied to programming) will overshadow the reflexive, and/or critical.
Matthew Zook


4. How do we ensure that we provide quality mapping education in online settings?

Need for critical history: Intro to History of Critical Cartography.
Jeremy Crampton

Look at how an entire generation of web designers and developers have taught themselves and each other to build and design the web.
Rich Donohue

It’s again a question of expanding access -- by making curriculum available beyond the institution for free or low cost.
Lize Mogel

We need to embrace known best practices in distance education, while engaging with the thriving learning design research community to develop new approaches, for learners of all kinds – not just traditional students.
Anthony Robinson

Modules on cartographic design concepts will remain relatively static and should translate well to the online format, but modules on software and programming likely will need updating each semester and may suffer from a lack of the “over the shoulder” training on which we rely in a classroom format. I think I’ve diagnosed the problem, but haven’t thought of many solutions yet... 
Rob Roth

We must find a way to sketch, tinker, and fail in an online environment that actually amplifies learning instead of merely shadowing it.
Matthew W. Wilson

Tough question. But in addition to the standard online education tricks, I think it is also useful to look to some of the online educational materials that have been coming from the industry.
Matthew Zook

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