1.21.2006

Mapping today is like blogging

In trying to get a handle on what mapping is today, perhaps the best analogy is to that of blogging:

1. Blogging provides an outlet for knowledge and opinion beyond the MSM.
Online mapping, the geospatial web and outlets like Google Earth provide an outlet for mapping beyond the big map publishers or the state

2. The MSM largely controlled informed opinion and conversation, and were structurally dominated by corporations and were small c conservative, if not big c Conservative
Mapping has historically existed largely to serve the state and the military

3. Blogging invests power in the hands of the everyday citizen, outside the control of academia or the state
Mapping today is largely practiced by the everyday mapper, beyond the reach of cartography textbooks or college classes

4. Blogging does have earlier scattershot pre-computer examples, such as diary and jounral keeping in the nineteenth century
There were earlier independent pre- or non-computer producers and inventors of maps such as Buckminster Fuller, Arno Peters, Bill Bunge

The bottom line then is that like blogging, mapping was controlled by certain vested interests, but is now available to millions with very few entry barriers.

Update: I forgot to add one of my main points:

5. Blogging enables and promotes discussion of local issues, especially in political blogs
Today's mapping likewise allows people to focus on local issues, and not be dictated to by national or government mapping efforts.

1 comment:

mikel said...

Interesting thoughts. The relationship of blogging to mapping and amaturization, led me to align worldKit closely to blogging systems through the GeoRSS format.