Living Maps

Apologies for the silence on this blog of late, because despite coming across a wealth of mapping articles, videos and whatnot, I’ve been rather busy putting together a few pieces of work that have had to take precedence! I will try to remedy this in the next month or so, despite the continuation of these efforts. As a good start, I would like to draw people’s attention towards the 2014 Living Maps Seminar Series which had its launch earlier this month.

The first was entitled ‘Mapping the Field’ and saw input from Phil Cohen and Christian Nold, following a screening of the short film The Map is Not the Territory. Here are details of the remaining 6 seminars:

SEMINAR 2 : Hidden Histories
Exploring strategies to excavate hidden layers of cultural and natural histories and put them on the map.
VENUE: The Building Exploratory, London 11/02/2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SEMINAR 3 : Grounding Knowledge
Looking at maps that have site specific and partisan purposes, addressing issues of power and politics.
VENUE: City Centre Queen Mary University of London, London 11/03/2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SEMINAR 4 : Marginalised Bodies, Liminal Spaces
Looking at issues of disability and the fight for access to the city.
VENUE: UEL Docklands Campus, London 13/05/2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SEMINAR 5 : Constructing New Geographies
Addressing the contradictions of mapping the post-modern city: the self-defining spaces and the centres of power.
VENUE: Dept. of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck University of London, London 10/06/2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SEMINAR 6 : Communities of Resistance
Case studies in regeneration and gentrification, communities of resistance and the role of ‘counter mapping’.
VENUE: UCL Urban Laboratory, 4th Floor Central House, London 08/07/2014
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

SEMINAR 7 : Mapping the Future
How far can GIS be mobilized for radical action; can artists maps offer a representation of emergent political landscapes?
VENUE: The Young Foundation, London 22/07/2014


Matthew Wilson and Sarah Elwood’s chapter on “capturing” for the SAGE Handbook of Human Geography is now available as a preprint version here. It contains a superb quote by Bill Bunge on the problem of certain kinds of academic enterprise:

We are in the computer center watching the printout to see if it is raining  outside. If the ghetto burns down we will not know it because it does not  show on the symap. If it is not in the census, it is not sensed. If remote  sensing is efficient, and it is, why does it follow, and it does not, that intimate sensing is not? We have become so situational that we have lost sight of the site unless we can cite it in a senseless census. (1974, 488)

There are sections on ‘junctures’, ‘representation and data’, ‘analysis and interpretation’ and ‘production and participation’.

Introducing MicroMappers for Digital Disaster Response

Micromaps = micropolitics? Patrick Meier discusses digital disaster response over at iRevolution.


The UN activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) on December 3, 2012 to carry out a rapid damage needs assessment in response to Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines. More specifically, the UN requested that Digital Humanitarians collect and geo-reference all tweets with links to pictures or video footage capturing Typhoon damage. To complete this mission, I reached out to my colleagues at CrowdCrafting. Together, we customized a microtasking app to filter, classify and geo-reference thousands of tweets. This type of rapid damage assessment request was the first of its kind, which means that setting up the appropriate workflows and technologies took a while, leaving less time for the tagging, verification and analysis of the multimedia content pointed to in the disaster tweets. Such is the nature of innovation; optimization takes place through iteration and learning.

Microtasking is key to the future of digital humanitarian response, which is…

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Google Map Maker Comes to the UK I

Users in the UK can now do all the things they could do on OSM (!) now on Google Maps with it’s ‘Map Maker’ tool. Map Maker ‘Pulse’ is a live window of these map edits. Users can add new places, roads, rivers, building outlines, natural features and boundaries as well as editing existing places, line features, road segments and directions.