September 24, 2010

Visualizing Digiplace

Two of the basic concepts we use here at Floatingsheep are:

Cyberscape, or the cloud of geo-coded information through which we move everyday (handy visualization of cyberscape here).


Digiplace, or the sorting of cyberscapes, often by software algorithms such as Google’s pagerank, to filter content and avoid information overload. A key part of digiplace is how it makes some parts of the cyberscape more visible while peripheralizing other areas.

We’ve never had a good visualization of digiplace…at least until now. But Taylor’s recent search (via his iPhone) on Google Maps for the keyword "Kroger grocery" resulted in a nice example. In the image below, Kroger’s is in the upper left and is marked by a red push pin. Interestingly, Meijer's, another grocery store chain, also shows up as a sponsored link. Digiplace in action.


While Google Maps does clearly label Meijer’s as a “sponsored link”, i.e., "paid for placement”, the digiplace produced by this search does change visibility within the retail landscape.

For further reading, see:
Zook, M. and M. Graham. 2007. The Creative Reconstruction of the Internet: Google and the privatization of cyberspace and DigiPlace. GeoForum 38(6): 1322-1343

Zook, M. and M. Graham. 2007. Mapping DigiPlace: Geo-coded Internet Data and the Perception of Place. Environment and Planning B 34(3): 466-482.

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