A closer look at cultural landscape information - the case of Friesland


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Information made on a certain area or landscape - like here the Wadden island of Terschelling and Top & Twel in a low peat area, both in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands - is made up of objecttypes, objects, and information on both. The object types are crucial in that. In this poster, made for the PECSRL conference in 2012 in Friesland, the object types and the information are analysed on certain aspects like content and communication.

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A closer look at cultural landscape information - the case of Friesland

  1. 1. A CLOSER LOOK AT CULTURAL LANDSCAPE INFORMATION THE CASE OF FRIESLAND What this study is about Relation to PhD Research Information is a main – and primarily in-between - product in This study is part of a PhD project on information and activities on cultural landscapes and heritage. It is also a communication regarding cultural-historical landscapes from crucial factor in what people get - or are allowed - to know a local perspective. In this field several ‘worlds’ coincide and about a certain landscape. The information, however, is 1 interact: those of information and communication always the result of a specific ‘make-context’, and hence on one hand, those of landscape, cultural history and selective. A make-context is a specific combination of aims, heritage on the other. The local perspective is the reference persons, organizations, processes, methods, etc. frame for the project. The central issue is what, how, and Information as meant here is pre-made and indirect why actors do in indirect information/communication forms communication. Therefore, it has to be kept ‘fit for use’ over like GISses, documents, websites, etc. Actors may use free time, distance, and users. Its usefulness and usability to users language (e.g. text), structured language (data, like in GIS) depend on a number of factors. The use-context is one such and visualization (e.g. maps, pictures), or combinations factor. This poster presupposes the aim of using existing thereof (‘multimodal’). All those means and forms act and information ‘to get to know a (specific) cultural-historical perform differently themselves, hence they differ in both landscape’ from a local perspective, as a necessary basis for 2 affordances and performances. Every aspect – further actions. The information context - the central issue content, presentation, and interactions – contributes to that. of this poster – is another factor, relating to the question Therefore, insight into what and how is done in information what I&C artefacts offer (‘allow for’, ‘afford’) as potential and communication, is essential. knowledge for knowing a cultural landscape. A pragmatic way to answer that question is by means of the 5 Case areas: (1) Terschelling (coastal, Wadden Island) W’s en 1 H: ‘what, where, when, where, who, and how’. (2) Top & Twel (low peat & lakes area)Content analysis Information context as a factor Aims and approachThis poster investigates the subject from two information The way(s) information and communication are realized The affordances of (some) I&C artifacts in ‘getting to know agenres on two Frisian landscape areas: GIS-based maps and through form(s), modes and media is a main factor. Main media cultural landscape’ from a local perspective take centre stage.related text documents. Both may contain entities like objects, are GIS database systems, text documents and internet; main Affordances are the action-possibilities of objects (cf.object types, ensembles, patterns, relationships (in space and modes are maps, texts, pictures, etc. The types of information ‘information qualities/values’). The concept of affordances istime), values, etc. Their styles, ways of expression, structures, content, (re)presentation and interaction are essentially related related to an (information) ecology approach.etc, however, are different. GISs, for example, start from ‘what’ to these, as well as to genres. Genres differ in style (e.g. word As affordances are related to personal and situational needsand ‘where’. Other information may include ´when´, ´why´, etc. use, text structure), in the way they handle concepts (e.g. and views, an analysis of general affordances is somewhatWatlas has been left out, as it is not operational at the moment. objects, relationships, etc.) and in modes. Whether information tricky. Therefore, the analysis is kept as factual as possible, – e.g. on maps – actually is a representation of a landscape or which is also pragmatic (e.g. leaving semantics out). This an area is a contested issue. Hence, information as such is an Content & Communication Analysis (CCA) is applied to two CHK2 KICH CHK2 KICH issue as well. Combinations of modes and media into Frisian landscape areas: Terschelling (a Wadden Sea island) andMost relevant types Terschelling Terschelling Top & Twel Top & Twel information environment are common, e.g. public GIS-maps Top & Twel (in the Low Central peat area). The I&C artifacts arePhysical landscape 5 types n.a. 4 types n.a. typically combine GIS and web viewers. three GIS-based (cultural) landscape systems and related textLandscape types 4 types n.a. 2 types n.a. documents: Watlas, CHK2, and KICH (see table).Parcellation 34 units 1 item 5 units 4 items (3 types) (2 types)Settlement /pattern 12 3 2 Communication AnalysisDwelling mound As NLM 2 As NLM 3Farmsteads/places 59 places Information modes (maps, texts, pictures, etc.) and genres (GISDuck decoy 14 1 none DBs, text documents, internet) lead to different affordancesChurch, etc, 9 3 2 1 towards knowledge. (Re)presentations and interactions areBurial place/item As NLM 4 As NLM 2 main factors in that:Military, defence 1 (OPNW) 1 -map icons may or may not give a quick visual overviewCastle/manor/estate 2 3 1 -web viewers both facilitate and constrain GIS capabilitiesPaths, roads, rails 6 (OPNW) > 4 paths 6 (OPNW) 2 - getting information may be direct or need extra stepsPond/wheel 2 (OPNW) 1 - information may be easy to understand (e.g. concrete texts),Dyke 4 systems 2 or not (e.g. abstract concepts and categories).Waterway 9 for ships > 15Bridge, ferry, ford 2 Issue Aspect CHK2 KICHPolder/pumping mill 1 Overview via ´search´ On location Number of choicesHarbor, rescue 5 (OPNW) 4 buildings Visual over- Object type Partly More or less Main GISs with cultural history on Friesland view: icon as Object shape Direct Indirect (in case ofCraft, industry, mills 1 4 1 representation & location lines and polygons)Mining places 1Nat. listed 100 101 3 3 Approaching Clicking on Direct object Indirect: choosingmonuments Terschelling in CHK2 object(types) map locations info from a listCharact. Buildings 72 88 20 15 Selection of Flexible, while Through search:1850-1940 (MIP) object types using the map either 1 layer, or all Understan- Abstract/ Mostly Mostly concrete Number of objects or -types present in a GIS dibility: concrete concrete (OPNW = project on regional paths and CH objects, Concepts, etc. Meaning clear Mostly clear Mostly clear NLM = National Listed Monuments) Webviewer Relationships no no capabilities, in Analysis no no view of GIS Extrapolation no noIssues aspects CHK2 KICHMore info Form ´Info-object´ ´Info-object´about objects? Name? Type-dependent Landscape: few Location? Type-dependent Landscape: few Conclusions Further info? Type-dependent Landscape: few Ensembles? In text-info, if In text-info, if -The GISs differ in affordances in getting to know a landscape, History? present present but both are more or less limited to what the experts/ Values? Partly (State) Foremost values authorities see as significant (CHK2) and/or valuable (KICH));Info about Present? Type-dependent noobject types? Form? - The text documents do help, but may be too general. As they are As Info-object no related to the GISs, they may share (some of) the limitations; Ensembles? In text-info, if In text-info, if History? present present -(Re)presentations , typologies and interactions - including searchInformation Form? Province-wide At different scales facilities – are main factors in the retrieval of information,on an area within GIS? no yes and can make this easy, or awkward; Specif. objects Examples (few) Examples (more) -Local initiatives may fill in the gaps, e.g. on old paths andCompleteness Objecttypes? no no special elements (OPNW, in a separate provincial GIS map), orin Objects/type? Type-dependent Type-dependent on World War II (`Wad´n Erfgoed`);Info on ´why´ of objects/types Not explicitly Not explicitly -Areas and places differ in information sources, e.g. there is Example: Top & Twel in KICH much more information on Terschelling than on Top & Twel. Additional information on objects and types in the GISs Hence, the degree in which places can become known differs too. PECSRL Conference, August 2012, Leeuwarden LandZij J. Sophie Visser, M.Sc., M.A. Consultant LandZij / PhD Student Utrecht University j.s.visser@planet.nl