Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: exploring the geolinguistic contours of the web


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Digital geospatial information is layered throughout our urban landscapes; it is invisible to the naked eye, but is a central component of the augmentations and mediations of place enabled by hundreds of millions of mobile devices, computers, and other digital technologies. We not just produce, access, and use all of this geospatial information about place, but also access it whilst we are in those very places. Moreover, due to advances in mobile technology, many people now quite literally have access to this information in the palms of our hands. But far from uniform and ubiquitous, these digital dimensions of places are fractured along a number of axes such as location, language and social networks.

This paper analyzes how these fractures differ across space and language to both highlight the differences and begin the process of explaining the factors behind them. While some of the disparities conform to longstanding offline patterns, others highlight the changing fortunes and positions of places in a globalizing economy and highlight the increasingly finer scale of differentiation in which understandings of places are constructed.

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  • BELGIUM – top 2 bottom, english, french, flemishEach image should be:Width 12.7cmHeight 6.35cm each25.412.7
  • ISRAEL top to bottom, Arabic, Hebrew, EnglishEach image should be:Width 12.7cmHeight 6.35cm each25.412.7
  • Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: exploring the geolinguistic contours of the web

    1. 1. augmented realities anduneven geographies: exploring the geolinguistic contours of the web AAG Annual Meeting New York, February 25 2012 Mark Graham Matthew Zook Oxford Internet Institute Department of Geography e: University of Kentucky t: @geoplace e:
    2. 2. “We’re trying to build a virtual mirrorof the world at all times” Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Location Services LeWeb Conference, Paris 2010.
    3. 3. Spatial Palimpsests
    4. 4. “The Internet surrounds us like air, saturating ouroffices and our homes. But it’s not confined to theether. You can touch it. You can map it. And you canphotograph it” - Andrew Blum 2009
    5. 5. Cores and Peripheries of Information• Singer’s (1970) international technological dualism between rich and poor countries.• UNESCO’s ‘New World Information Order’ to describe uneven global flows of information (Mowlana 1997)• The Internet ‘as a new phase in a long history of the West’s attempt to colonize not only the territory and the body but also the mind of the Third World “other” (Sardar 1996).
    6. 6. “here be dragons” Psalter World map (1265)
    7. 7. Google News
    8. 8. 1) What are the geographies and densities of augmentations of material places?2) What are the spatial footprints of different languages in the Geoweb?
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Eastern Canada: English and French
    11. 11. Spain: Spanish (Castilian) and Catalan
    12. 12. Belgium: Flemish and French
    13. 13.
    14. 14. Belgium: English, Flemish, French
    15. 15. France: French and English
    16. 16. Israel/Palestine: Arabic and Hebrew
    17. 17. Search terms in Belgium English French Flemish
    18. 18. ArabicHebrewEnglish
    19. 19. Bangkok(“temple” in Thai) “temple” in English
    20. 20. a “ ” in Tel Aviv 589 results “restaurant” in Tel Aviv 448 results a “ ” in Tel Aviv 22 results
    21. 21. Valdrada: the mirrored city.From Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Colleen Corradi Brannigan:
    22. 22. thank you Mark Graham Matthew Zook Oxford Internet Institute University of Kentucky Department of Geography @geoplace