Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New Course on Digital Geographies

Geog 258 Digital Geographies  (5)  (I&S)
Sarah Elwood
TTh 1:30-3:20, plus T or Th quiz section
From the use of Google’s MyMaps or geo-tagged Tweets to coordinate street protests for democracy, to ‘check-in’ apps that alert when us when a friend is nearby, to online or smart-phone citizen data collection apps, making and using digital maps and geographic information is an increasing part of everyday life in many parts of the world. This class explores the key components, applications and societal impacts of contemporary geographic data and technologies, including online mapping software, handheld geographic devices, the geoweb, location-based services, crowdsourced spatial data sets, and open source geographic technologies. You will develop hands-on experience using these forms of geographic information and technologies, and develop a framework for critically assessing the digital geographies emerging through these new data, technologies, and applications.

For our purposes this quarter, “digital geographies” are the social/spatial practices and relationships produced through digital geographic data or technologies. For example, the use of Google Earth imagery by human rights activists to support court claims of genocide is a social/spatial practice that uses digital geographic technologies. The disproportionate production of multimedia geographic data with smart phones in wealthier neighborhoods, regions, and countries, compared to text-based geographic data (using SMS text messages) in poorer places is an example of a spatial/spatial relationship that emerges through the use of digital geographic technologies. We will study how digital geographies are produced through spatial data and geovisual representations with new technologies; and through the use of these technologies for protest/activism, recreation/socializing, community and international development, citizen participation in government, citizen science, surveillance/social control, and many other activities

Keywords: mapping, spatial technologies, social media, the internet, social justice, digital divide