Collaborative mapping has been developing for many years and has hitherto
used what ever technologies are available, Dimitris cites a number of well
known examples. I would also cite Yellow Arrow <http://yellowarrow.net/v3/>.
But all these projects can only go so far for two reasons-one is that they
are limited by the mapping concept-Googlemaps and even OpenStreetMap offer a
one size fits all view of the world and users have not choice but to follow
what appears to be an "objective" standard, which is of course no such
thing. A map incorporates the views and politics of its makers and really
artists need to wrench this frame into whatever form suits the project-this
seems to me to be equally true of collaborative maps. I recommend
starting points on this quest to mould the map to our imaginations, rather
than the other way around.The second reason is that unless the driver for a
collaborative map rests in the imagination and captures motivations beyond
the merely informational, it very quickly ceases to have any right to be
called art. I think this observation is true of many locative projects with
artistic pretentions, particularly ones citing psychogeography as a
motivation - but often misunderstanding Debord's "Derive" and ignoring the
process of "Détornment".
I have been engaged in a number of collaborative mapping projects myself and
have some understanding of the difficulties involved in bringing an artist's
sensibilities to bear on the great and uncontrollable world of the net. The
best we can hope for is to create an architecture that people feel
comfortable about inhabiting. An early attempt was Starshed <
stories of the uncanny were collaboratively mapped across a city using a
metaphorical interface, but even this very open but concise project was
spammed into supension after a couple of fruitful months.
We are currently working on a citywide project in Leicester where the art is
separated from but tied to the mapping process. Volunteer cyclists are
tracing routes across the city with GPS and annotating with video and
photography as a way of gathering current and personal information for the
traveling public. Once the map is complete , commissions for virtual public
art in the form of site-specific soundart, music, poetry, film and
animation will be launched for consumption on the routes (See Songlines <
http://www.pervasive.org.uk/projects/songlines>).We are hoping this method
will avoid some of the chaos inevitably associated with open projects, but
keep the notion of quality in the equation.
I would love to hear from others on their experience of either constructing
or colaborating in such projects.
2010/7/17 Dimitris Charitos <email@example.com>
> Dear Roger, dear Martin, dear Daphne and all
> I very much agree with the suggestion that one of the most useful
> applications of these techno-social systems (locative media and generally
> systems that support the convergence of mobile telecom networks, GPS and
> novel interactive interfaces on mobile devices) are these that afford local
> citizens the possibility of capturing data and collaboratively creating
> their own cartographic or environmental representations for various
> Urban Tapestries (http://urbantapestries.net/) and later Social Tapestries
> (http://socialtapestries.net/) by Proboscis and partners were two of the
> first projects to offer this potential.
> OpenStreetMap is a more recent attempt to provide free geographic data such
> as street maps to anyone who wants them and to support collaborative
> These are two examples of systems which have afforded a bottom-up process
> creating a map, or a meaningful environmental representation of an area.
> Of course, the process of enriching an environment with meaning thus
> creating a place through the use of such media largely depends on the
> intention of the parties who create this system in the first place. One of
> the things that I have noted during my involvement in creating and
> evaluating systems that involve location detection is that those who create
> them either call them:
> * location-based services and apps (mainly IT perspective ultimately
> oriented towards creating innovation and revenue) or
> * locative media (mainly art/design/social media approach attempting to
> create not necessarily revenue-generating systems but interventions which
> may support the emergence of new ways of reading, writing and living our
> These two terms are clearly indicative of intentions and even of the
> politics underlying the creative process.
> When studying these systems in order to evaluate them or to learn from
> one can approach them from various perspectives:
> Apart from the ICT oriented approach that usually focuses on their
> functionality and usability, by mainly employing quantitative
> one can investigate the use of these systems from the perspectives of
> sciences, social psychology, cultural studies, environmental cognition, new
> media art aesthetics, urban studies, cartography, etc. and of course there
> is common ground between these perspectives too.
> What is also interesting to note, is that we have passed the era of merely
> utilizing these new media in order to identify their potential and we are
> seeing more and more systems/artworks/interventions which attempt to
> patterns/characteristics/qualities/dynamics of everyday life in the city
> (and I find the title Invisible Dynamics so appropriate). Apart from the
> examples that you have mentioned so far, another very good example of such
> an artwork is Christian Nold's BioMapping project
> And indeed I agree with Martin and Daphne in that we are very much in need
> of the critical approach of artists or scientists who will work with these
> systems and investigate their use in order to reveal issues (i.e. the Loca
> project, by Evans, Hemment, Humphries and Raento: http://www.loca-lab.org/
> problems and phenomena of everyday life and for creating meaningful
> environmental experiences.
> Finally, I would like to thank all who have started to contribute to the
> discussion already and hopefully will continue through till the end of the
> Best wishes
> Dr. Dimitrios Charitos
> Assistant Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
> National and Kapodistrian University of
> e-mail: vedesign at otenet dot gr
> URL: www.media.uoa.gr/~charitos <http://www.media.uoa.gr/%7Echaritos>
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Professor of Digital Creativity
De Montfort University
IOCT/Art and Design
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