Mapping social science data:
Associated reading: Shannon obit.
Map communication model
was something of an eccentric personality, and was often seen riding through
the hallways on a unicycle of his own design while juggling three balls
(Shannon would have fit in perfectly with the exuberant dot.com boom of the
late 1990s and early 2000s where the young dotcommers
rode through their offices on motorized scooters or Segways).
He also designed and built chess-playing machines and a kind of maze-solving device which was one of the earliest experiments in teaching a machine how to “think.” Although these demonstrate a whimsical side to his nature they were all directed to some end. The unicycle for example was a practical experiment in control under conditions of inherent instability.
can be defined. Smallest unit? = 2
= 2 bits
These are the ones in most common usage (for example in measuring the amount of RAM memory on your computer—hard disk space is usually measured in decimal, not binary units). One exabyte represents a tremendous amount of information (some authors have calculated that the sum total of all online knowledge is 5 exabytes (Morville 2005)). There is also such a thing as a zettabyte and a yottabyte (2^70 and 2^80 respectively); while 10^100, a much larger number, is the better known “googol” after which the Google company named themselves (misspelled!)
2. Communication could be improved if the “signal” was strengthened against the “noise” (signal to noise ration, SNR)
3. Information was fungible, that is, convertible to other forms and transmitted over distance. Paintings, songs, voices all could be represented as bits. And of course, maps.
Basic idea in cartography: maps work when they best communicate information
Arthur Robinson The
Look of Maps (1952)
Actual Map Communication Models (MCM)
one was developed by Christopher Board, late 1960s
Illustration of MCM by Alan MacEachren:
Traces the communication of information from the cartographer to the percipient or map-user
Popular during the 1970s - 1980s but still tacitly accepted today
Critized for lacking any ability to account for meaning that we obtain or encounter when using a map (Leonard Guelke critique for example, p. 16). Maps lack context that is relevant to meaningful human occupation if only understood as MCM.
If the MCM is inadequate, what can improve or even replace it? Two areas of work emerged during 1990s. (1) Critical cartography. (2) geovisualization.
--both wanted to make maps work better or play a better more meaningful role in our lives. One was based on fresh theoretical thinking, the other on an expanded view of the MCM.
--provides a critique of the MCM
Ever since the late 1980s cartography has sought a more powerful way of understanding the role maps play in our lives.
"Deconstructing the Map" (1989)
The "power of the
by Denis Wood, 1992)
"critical GIS" also developed
--"critical" here means not just placing criticism, but being more careful and questioning about maps and GIS, about recognizing the constructed nature of maps, one's own positionality, the power of mapping in producing subjectivity (eg Columbus).
Geovisualization and Data Exploration: Tuesday