Where It’s @
mapping and location awareness
Mapping is first and foremost an attempt of contextualizing one’s surrounding environment.
More than just asking “Where am I?” we believe the cartographer is also concerned with the question “Where am I not?” While these questions have historically led to controversial (“oppressive”?) circumstances such as colonialism and territorial conflicts, we believe that through the context of the web, mapping can provide a positive difference towards global awareness and social change.
Where It’s @ is a course trying to examine cartography in the light of new technology.
Data visualization technologies, open GIS interfaces and location aware devices are turning mapping into the latest technological hype. How does all of that effect our culture?
The course will tackle concepts of mapping history, images of the world, globalization, activism, urban-planning, psychogeography through the practices of hacking, APIs, DIY, GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and GPS (Global Positioning System). The course will present these topics within the contexts of social software, collaborative work, net art, networked performance and online/physical space tensions.
The basic assumption of the course – a question we would like to keep raising – does the use of location aware technology lead towards a more location aware culture?
Week 1 – Introduction
Exploration of mapping as a concept.
History of mapping, from ancient maps through the age of discovery to the mapping of the human genome.
Mapping as an art form – from traditional to new media art referring to mapping.
Syllabus + Expectations
1st assignment: a week of location awareness –
draw your movement on a MTA map for the coming week.
Use different colors for subway, walking, bus/cab/car, bike.
Week 2 – Psychogeography / Introduction to Google Earth
We’ll be going through the assignment and will be developing a conversation on that issue
referring to Situationist Psychogeography experiments & concepts.
We’ll introduce Google Earth both as a viewer and as a creative platform.
2nd Assignment: Using GE to tell a story.
Week 3 – The builders of cities / A imaginative city planing workshop
After enjoying a set of GE stories, we will go through Sketch-Up as a tool for building 3D models in GE.
We will be building together non-existing architecture as a social/political statement in urban virtual space.
3rd Assignment: Urban art in virtual space.
Week 4 – Can we really map without leaving the screen?
We will break the workshop’s status-quo by doing a real-space mapping experiment in the city.
Based on the maps of the participants weekly routes we will choose an area that is not as familiar for us, and try to explore it for the sake of exploring.
We will be using digital cameras and a GPS device to collect data which we’ll be using later.
Week 5 – GIS
Geographic Information Systems – what are they for? who’s using them? What is happening to the field now?
We will use a GIS approach to create a database for the information we collected the previous week, we’ll use a couple different map interfaces to explore the information in different ways and discuss the information itself through them.
start thinking of final projects (preferably in small groups)
Week 6 – Mapping Hacks
We will start by touring the world for the class’s virtual street sculptures / architecture pieces
We will discuss how the concept of hacking has changed in the past years and how from a rebellious movement of geeks, it has become a pretty much excepted approach to computing and is even supported by the big technology companies through the publishing of officially supported APIs.
The rest of the class will be devoted to the use of mapping APIs such as Google Maps & Yahoo Maps services – creating XML and getting your dots on the map.
4th Assignment – Connect the dots – think about what we discussed in class and make your own response to the title “Connect the dots”.
Week 7 – Geo-Hacktivism / Networked KMLs
Exploring the connect the dots assignment submissions.
First presentation of final projects concepts.
Week 8 – Loud Speaker
A guest speaker will attend the class for a lecture and will stay afterward to provide feedback on students’ projects in development.
Week 9 – Presentation, Closing Party
We will explore and critique the projects*, either in Eyebeam or if necessary out around the city.
* An optional ~one week exhibition of the final projects can be held in Eyebeam and opened shortly after the course ends.