DIY and Counter-Cartography - cct335-w11



DIY and Counter-Cartography - cct335-w11
Josh On’s “They Rule” (2004) -
DIY and Counter-Cartography
Kazys Varnelis and Leah Meisterlin -
The Invisible City: Design in the Age of Intelligent Maps
(Some) Takeaway point from “The Invisible City”
1. Maps are intelligent, “don’t just represent spatial relationships... reveal conditions”
2. Cartography is now about “convention rather than invention”
3. Con of ubiquitous geodata: tethered to big companies like
Google and Microsoft
4. Another con: we get spoon fed information about space/navigation (echoing our reliance on search engines for research)
5. Maps can mobilize people politcally
6. Citizens can take charge of data, research and prove points
7. Designers (potentially) have the skill set to branch into cartography.
Denis Cosgrove - “Carto-City”
“Conceptually, the map has either preceded the physical presence of the city or served to regulate and coordinate its continued existence. St. Petersburg, Washington D.C., New Delhi,
Brasilia, countless fortress and colonial cities, existed on paper
before they had any material expression. Paris, Rome, Vienna,
Amsterdam, Jerusalem—virtually every great city— either has
been reconstructed or expanded by means of a great plan.”
pg. 148
Denis Cosgrove - “Carto-City”
“Early modern and Enlightenment city planning saw in geometry a medium of legibility. The city was to be read as a text for
its rulers, its citizens and its visitors. Printed urban maps expressed and reinforced the city’s legibility.”
pg. 152
Central Pacific Railroad Map (1898) source:
The Rationalized Landscape
Harry Beck
London Underground ‘Tube Map’ 1933
“‘Scientific’ cartography’s inability to capture
the contemporary city has, however, opened
new possibliities for urban mapping” pg. 150
“The goal of rendering legible the complex, dynamic and living entity that is a city
remains an urgent one. But today’s acute
awareness that cartographic images can
never be innocent vehicles of information dissolves neat distinctions between celebratory
and regulatory urban maps. Urban space and
cartographic space remain inseperable; as
each is transformed their relationships atler.”
pg. 157
The Parisian Arcades
Index – Urban Taxonomy
“Counter Cartographies” – Brian Holmes
“The Internet is the vector of a new geography – not only because it conjurs up virtual realities, but also because it shapes
our lives in society, transforms our cities, and shifts our perception along with the ground beneath our feet. Networks have
become the dominant structures of cultural, economic and military power. Yet this power remains largely invisible. How can
this network society be represented? And how can it be navigated, appropriated, reshaped in its turn?”
pg. 20
CAIDA Skitter Graph
Hackitectura -
Cartografía crítica del Estrecho de Gibraltar (2004)
“Counter Cartographies” – Brian Holmes
“Critical and dissident cartographies arise against the background of these dominant mapping technologie. They appear
as counter-behaviors in Michel Foucault’s sense: deliberately
denormalized refusals of the reason of State, elaborated with
the very tools that consolidate the control society.”
pg. 25
To speak broadly, how might we define DIY cartography and counter
cartography? How do these terms differ and how are they similar?
DIY Cartography
Counter Cartography
-’bottom up’
-addressing civic oversight
-creating open alternatives to propreitary geodata
-public resource
-resistance to dominant narratives
-map-based activism
-(possibly) polemical
-not only illuminating but perception
(many other names: neogreography, citizen
geography, where 2.0, participatory mapping, collaborative mapping, etc.)
(eg. the GDP cartograms from last week,
used to prove/suggest that the first world/
second world/third world paradigm is actually better expressed as overdeveloped/underdeveloped)
FourSquare (2009)
Facebook Places (2010)
Dopplr (2007)
OpenStreetMap (2004)
Compare to
FixMyStreet (2007)
Open Data
A Case for Open Data in Transit
EveryBlock (2008) – aka what would happen if you aggregated everything?
Stamen Design –
Oakland Crimespotting (2007)
Spatial Information Design Lab -
Million Dollar Blocks (2005)
Michael Cook –
Toronto Sewer Map (2003-)
Google Maps appropriated for London student protests (2010)
“Fleeing riot police on foot? There’s an app for that ...” – Sukey

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