Mapping Cybergeographies

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Mapping Cybergeographies

  1. 1. Mapping Cybergeographies Stephen Graham Newcastle University
  2. 2. The Myth of the “End of Geography” •  60s-90s: Pervasive rhetoric of “death of distance”, “end of geography”, “end of cities” •  Apparently limitless and infinite mobilities •  Bill Gates “Friction-free capitalism” •  Virilio “Urbanization of real time” •  Substitutionist and deterministic assumptions: “anything-anywhere-anytime dream” •  Dematerialisation, withdrawal from physical world: body-city-geography
  3. 3. •  And yet a new age of cartography is emerging centred on revealing the lie to these myths: •  1. Visualizations of Cyberspace •  2. Visualizing Cyberspace Topologies and Flows •  3. Visualizing Cyberspace Materialities •  4. Mapping Uneven Geographies •  5. A Geolocated World: Animating Geographies Through GPS/Mobile/Satellites/Ubiquitous Computing •  Highly charged politics of mapping cybergeographies
  4. 4. 1. Visualizations of Cyberspace •  Cartographic techniques which help make informational domains legible, navigable, memorable •  Widespread use of geographical and urban metaphors •  Increasing blurring of cyberspace/real space boundary
  5. 5. Classic ‘Virtual Reality’ Paradigm: Immersive, 3D: Marginalize the Body
  6. 6. Also Imaginary Geographies of Virtual Worlds
  7. 7. Alphaworld Virtual ‘City’
  8. 8. SimCity
  9. 9. Video Game Urban Simulations
  10. 10. Using Familiar Urban Cartography to Structure Online Content
  11. 11. Geographical Metaphors to Structure Complex Online Content
  12. 12. Amsterdam ‘Digital City’
  13. 13. Sometimes utilise national maps
  14. 14. 2. Visualizing Cyberspace Topologies and Flows •  Capture the connectivities of ICT systems and how the topological connections and flows of data are constructed to benefit certain interests and/or geographical areas •  Exposes extraordinarily stark and uneven geographies and hidden biases of connectivity
  15. 15. Online position: informational space
  16. 16. Topological Map of the Internet
  17. 17. Alt.discussion groups
  18. 18. Hierarchical mapping
  19. 19. The UK JANET Academic Backbone
  20. 20. Mapping 24hr Global Flows
  21. 21. Trace Routing
  22. 22. 3. Visualizing Cyberspace Materialities •  Material infrastructures supporting ‘cyberspace’ generally neglected or ignored (until they fail) •  Physical and cultural invisibility •  And yet they have highly uneven and important geographies at all spatial scales: global to the urban •  E.g. Manhattan has more optic fibre than Africa •  Such patterns do much to reveal political, economic and cultural geographies of power
  23. 23. Evolution of ARPANET
  24. 24. Transnational Optic Fibre Networks
  25. 25. Triumvirate of Dominant Capitalist Heartland Regions: N Am, Eur, E Asia
  26. 26. New Fibre Corridors and E-Peripheries
  27. 27. International Phone Traffic and Bypassed Zones
  28. 28. Satellite ‘Footprints’
  29. 29. Highly Uneven Urban and Regional ‘Dot.Com Geographies’: UK ‘Spikes’
  30. 30. Matt Zook’s US ‘Dot.Com’ Map
  31. 31. Zook’s Bay Area
  32. 32. Down Town San Francisco
  33. 33. Dodge’s IP Address Density Surface in London
  34. 34. WiFi ‘Hot Spots’
  35. 35. Revealing Fibre for Local Economic Promotion e.g. San Diego
  36. 36. Digitised Urban Simulacra
  37. 37. Virtual Los Angeles
  38. 38. Webcams: Cyberspace as Prosthetic Eyes
  39. 39. 4. Mapping Uneven Geographies •  Mapping cybergeographies can act as proxies to reveal and visualise uneven development, divisions of labour, and geographies of social polarisation at all geographical scales: From technogeopolitics to urban social geographies •  An Examples: Technogeopolitics-- Global N-S relations
  40. 40. Technogeopolitics: Contrasts Global Population Density and Internet Router Density
  41. 41. Main Concentrations of Domain Names
  42. 42. Postcolonial Techno Geopolitics of Connectivity
  43. 43. Cartograms to Demonstrate Who Dominates Web Growth: 2007
  44. 44. 2015 (projected)
  45. 45. 5. Geolocated Worlds: Animating Geographies Through GPS/ Mobile/ Ubiquitous Computing •  Eg Amsterdam Realtime project 2002 •  Seehttp:// www.interactivearchitecture.org/ amsterdam-realtime-waagsociety.html
  46. 46. Google Earth/Google Maps: Covergence of Geolocation/ Remote Sensing/ Virtual reality/ Photography/Navigation
  47. 47. Produces Active Mash-Ups as “New Spatial Media”
  48. 48. These Co-exist With Growing Sophistication and Commercialisation of Parallel, Online Worlds
  49. 49. Conclusions •  New age of cartography revealing the lie of cyberutopian or dystopian rhetoric of the death of geography or distance through real-time •  Shift from geographical metaphors to help make cyberspace navigable, to sophisticated mapping of the geographical bases and materialities that sustain ‘cyberspace’ •  Blurring real/virtual boundaries •  As with all cartography, these representations biased and politicised, but very revealing •  Shit towards dynamic, animated, cartographies generated by everyday mobilities

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