mapping

Ethan's Five Questions about Mapping Attention at Links 2013

This is a liveblog of Ethan Zuckerman's keynote at Links 2013. His slides are available online.

Ethan opens by saying that his stock and trade is "the unusual connection." He starts talking about the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The museum hasn't changed since it's early collector mentality. The labels actually list the white dude who collected the items rather than their creator. It's still a colonial approach to museums.

He shows a "rebellib" or "stick chart / shell chart" which is a map from the Marshall Islands with shells representing the islands and curved and diagonal lines representing ocean swells. Since the Marshall Islands are scattered across 500-600km. A Marshall Islander around 1900 is going to be in their boat and traveling between the atolls without seeing them over the horizon. You must travel dozens or more kilometers at a time between them. And when you miss the next atoll you die. And bad things happen evolutionarily if you die on the way to the next atoll. There is a need for inter-island "booty calls" to produce the diversity necessary to sustain a population.

Contemporary scientists have gone back and found that these rebbelib are incredibly accurate. And if you check Google Maps, you realize this is an area of the Earth that we have not sufficiently mapped. Google is a decent proxy for interest in an area since the best resolution is based on demand: people's willingness to pay for high resolution images without clouds.

How Close to Home? Crisis, Attention and Geographic Bias

  

 Boston Marathon Bombings, April 15, 2013                Lushan Earthquake, April 20, 2013  

                               (Credit: AFP/Getty Images, National Geographic)

A Critical Geography of the News Coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombings

By Catherine D'Ignazio and Luisa Beck

Location! The Importance of Geo-Data at SXSW

Liveblog of Location! The Importance of Geo-Data panel at SXSW

Description from the SXSW website: The proliferation of location-aware devices and geo-tagged data raises important questions: what will happen as more and more of the content we create online is automatically tagged with locational data? What can we learn from this profusion of geographic information? With this data we can find restaurants, friends and sex partners (a la Grindr.com), visualize inequalities in media attention, develop epidemiological models to predict the spread of diseases, find dissident safe houses in times of political upheaval and coordinate crisis response. But who is contributing data and who is not on the map? How are our social relationships being transformed? What about privacy? What about civic participation? Serious questions are mounting -- this panel aims to raise several of them, and explore the transformative power this shift may bring.

Location Panel at SXSW

Mapping the Globe: Initial Research into Regional Media Attention in Massachusetts

World - Mapping the Globe: Screenshots

Last fall the Center for Civic Media launched a new partnership with the Boston Globe, the preeminent newspaper in the Boston and New England region. Part of this partnership means that we get access to the last year or so of their archives via their alpha API. And one of the first things we noticed about the API data is that Boston Globe reporters have to enter a location for their news story.

At the Center, we think that media attention matters - in both quantity and quality. This geodata provided a perfect entry to studying how media attention from the Boston Globe plays out spatially across Boston neighborhoods and Massachusetts towns. And with access to the text of the articles associated with different places, we could start to answer some questions about not just the amount of media attention a place receives but how that attention is framed.

Civic Maps Toolkit


Where commuters run over Black children in Detroit. By the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute: http://makingmaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/bunge_runovermap.jpg

This post written together with Chris Schweidler.

This Fall, together with DataCenter, we began developing the Civic Maps Toolkit to orient Community-Based Organizations and Grassroots Groups to the opportunities, tools and even limitations of civic mapmaking. The Center for Civic Media and DataCenter are jointly managing the toolkit development and our team of content writers includes students from the Center and enrolled in Center courses and interns with DataCenter.

Resources for Civic Mapping: Toolkits and How-Tos

Some toolkits and how-tos for the CivicMaps Toolkit research file.

Title: Envisioning Development toolkits
Description: A set of 3 toolkits developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in NYC: Affordable Housing, Zoning, and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (last two are in progress). All 3 relate to specific NYC policies. Affordable Housing toolkit includes a guidebook ("first-ever illustrated compendium of NYC affordable housing programs", freely downloadable or puchaseable in book form), a felt chart for comparing and explaining affordable housing policies (purchaseable?), and an online map showing income demographics and rents in NYC.
External link: http://envisioningdevelopment.net/
Location: New York, NY 40.7142° N, 74.0064° W
Name of organization: Center for Urban Pedagogy
Category: toolkit and downloadable pdf guidebook
Tags: community organizing, policy, advocacy, analog

Building Change, One Map at a Time*

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we not only have immeasurable amounts of information available about the human experience in the planet, but are generating much more than we can possibly digest. The suggestive term “digital exhaust” is a common description of that phenomenon in today’s academic literature.

VIDEO: Civic Media Session: "Civic Maps"

Laura Kurgan, Pablo Rey

Maps, Geographic Information Systems, and spatial analysis are powerful tools that recently have become increasingly accessible to non-specialists. Dynamic maps with user created content are becoming part of daily life in the 1/3 world (developed countries and elites in the global South). There is a long history of maps as tools for civic engagement, with public participatory GIS and community engaged mapping playing key roles in (for example) indigenous land rights struggles, mapping health disparities, and the environmental justice movement's demonstration of the unequal spatial distribution of pollution. Most recently, new tools and platforms like Open Street Maps and Grassroots Mapping are democratizing maps even further.

What challenges still constrain the effective creation and use of Civic Maps? What tools and platforms are most promising? What steps can developers, practitioners, and researchers take to help build the field of civic mapping?

Download or watch below.

The Week in Civic Media: Data Therapy Webinar

From the Center

Introducing the Department of Play

[This post originally appeared on the MIT CoLab Radio blog, in Danielle Martin's Media Mindfulness column.]

The Department of Play (DoP) is a working group of researchers, developers, and community practitioners at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media (C4FCM) bonded by a common value: the design of new technologies and methodologies to support youth as active participants in their local urban neighborhoods.

We might glance at the teen sitting next to us on the bus with a smart-phone and think: “Wow, the digital divide is shrinking.”  My first thought goes to all the youth who don’t have access to mobile phones, who also have things to say.  But I do see the divide diminishing when I see the wide smile of a Peruvian youth playing around with a big red balloon with a makeshift camera rig he made himself, to make his own map of his favela neighborhood.

While higher broadband speeds and affordability recommended by the FCC’s recent national broadband plan should increase access to internet tools in under-served communities, we still need to consider the increased digital literacy and local facilitation necessary to use fully tap the power of these tools. While access is important, much more is needed to make sure technology can be used to empower young people.

GrassrootsMapping in Peru

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