June 09, 2009

Introduction

Over the last few years a range of terms dealing with the links between cyberspaces and physical spaces have been popularised. The Geoweb, Volunteered Geographic Information, Maps 2.0, Neogeography, Code/Space, and Digiplace all symbolise some aspect of the changes that are occurring to the ways that Geography is both represented and experienced.

The increasing availability of spatial data and the rise of Web 2.0 applications have helped produce a previously unimaginable collection of online spatial information. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are creating, uploading, and sharing reviews, guides, images, videos, stories, and descriptions that have one thing in common: they have been tagged to some point on the Earth’s surface.

User-created geographic data represent more than just a simple online database of maps. They instead create another layer to the physical world; they become a component of our understandings of place and, as such, influence the ways in which we move through and interact with the rest of the world.

Our research project therefore focuses on understanding how the Geoweb is structured, and the effects that it has on the offline world. Some examples of questions that we hope to explore both empirically and theoretically include:

  • What kind of information is being provided?
  • Who is writing this information?
  • How accurate/reliable is this information?
  • How do we get access to it?
  • How is filtered and ranked?
  • How are the resulting Cyberspaces/DigiPlaces being used?
  • What places are being annotated?
  • How does the Geoweb vary by scale and topic?

This blog will serve as a sketch pad for these, and other, questions. New findings will be posted, discussed, and left open for comment. More soon....

Matthew Zook and Mark Graham

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