GIS as Media?

Monica Stephens and I have a forthcoming book chapter, "GIS as Media?" in Mediated Geographies / Geographies of Media (Springer), edited by Susan Mains, Julie Cupples and Chris Lukinbeal. The preprint version is available here.

Wilson, Matthew W., and Monica Stephens. Forthcoming. "GIS as Media?" In Mediated Geographies / Geographies of Media, edited by Susan Mains, Julie Cupples and Chris Lukinbeal. Springer.

Geographic Information Systems are frequently thought of as a method to analyze and display spatial phenomena. As a state or military instrument for surveillance and control, or as consumer-oriented technology for navigation and geo-enabled search, GIS technologies have largely been employed to represent the present conditions of the world – whether atmospheric, geopolitical, social and urban, or geophysical. More recent critiques of these technologies have emphasized their societal implications, such as the ways in which spatial representations enable new forms of spatial problem solving. However, the digital landscape is evolving, as information generated by social/spatial media creates uneven topographies and layers of information describing everything from pedestrian landmarks to social relations. Furthermore, as real-time information and surveillance creates an impetus to examine ‘big data’, renewed interest in Social Network Analysis (SNA) provides a distinct lens on these media geographies. In this chapter, we shall present the history and development of GIS within geography amid the proliferation of digital media to better articulate the relative novelty of spatial/social media – to chart out a renewed understanding of the relationship between the map and the map reader, as a kind of map 2.0 approach that foregrounds map interactivity as the new model of map communication. In other words, we ask what are the affordances of broadening conceptions of GIS as media?


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