Introducing MicroMappers for Digital Disaster Response

Micromaps = micropolitics? Patrick Meier discusses digital disaster response over at iRevolution.


The UN activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) on December 3, 2012 to carry out a rapid damage needs assessment in response to Typhoon Pablo in the Philippines. More specifically, the UN requested that Digital Humanitarians collect and geo-reference all tweets with links to pictures or video footage capturing Typhoon damage. To complete this mission, I reached out to my colleagues at CrowdCrafting. Together, we customized a microtasking app to filter, classify and geo-reference thousands of tweets. This type of rapid damage assessment request was the first of its kind, which means that setting up the appropriate workflows and technologies took a while, leaving less time for the tagging, verification and analysis of the multimedia content pointed to in the disaster tweets. Such is the nature of innovation; optimization takes place through iteration and learning.

Microtasking is key to the future of digital humanitarian response, which is…

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Digital Mapping – The Importance of Space, Place and Time

A short post by myself on the importance of space, place and time in digital mapping at NCRM’s MODE blog.


Iphone Sukey Author:  Sam Hind, Phd Student, University of Warwick attached to the ERC project Charting the Digital (

Digital Maps intimately connect the concepts of space, place and time. Each is a dynamic term reaching across bodies and technologies, and none can be considered a priori – as pre-existing epistemological formations. That is, each comes into its own through an iterative process between material worlds, everyday life and imaginative experiences.

Space is not simply Euclidean space – although everyday usage of digital maps is certainly predicated upon geometric calculations and built upon a Cartesian coordinate system. Each pushpin placed onto a map has a unique position. Each building, tree or road can occupy a specific set of coordinates. But this does not explain how digital maps are engaged with and wilfully underplays the performative nature of their use. Those who have conceptualized space (human geographers, urban theorists etc.) emphasize…

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Close Up At A Distance

Laura Kurgan’s new book Close Up At A Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics is reviewed by Sara Johnson in The Atlantic and by Trevor Paglen in BookForum. The video above is Kurgan discussing the ‘Million Dollar Blocks’ project which also makes its way into the book. As Paglen explains:

Million-Dollar Blocks visualizes the “microgeography” of mass imprisonment by color-coding blocks of New York City neighborhoods by their incarceration rates. The visualizations highlight remarkable facts about the criminal-justice system, including that the vast majority of imprisoned persons come from an astonishingly small number of neighborhoods, and primarily from particular blocks within these neighborhoods…The project is a powerful critique of mass incarceration, one that requires viewers to consider the specific geographies behind it.

The map in question can be seen here.

June Workshop – Thinking and Doing Digital Mapping

CTD Banner 95

I thought I’d repost an announcement from Charting the Digital on a forthcoming workshop at the University of Warwick. I should be presenting an early version of a paper I’m co-writing with fellow CTD member Alex Gekker (who has recently set up his Casual Space blog). We will be talking about the ludification of automobility and satellite navigation. Martin Dodge, Muki Haklay and Lisa Parks are amongst the workshop participants. The blurb is below:

“Digital mapping has developed over the last thirty years to become a pervasive and global technology. It shapes our understanding of the world, and strongly mediates how we approach it.

Yet remarkably little is known about how particular assemblages of digital mapping actually do their work, or contribute to thinking about the world. What approaches yield which kinds of understanding about the encounter between people, mapping and the world? And how are different methodologies wrapped up in digital mapping?

To this end, Charting the Digital is hosting a workshop titled “Thinking and Doing Digital Mapping”. The workshop will explore how digital mapping has become a central tool for thinking and doing in today’s global culture.

Sybille Lammes (University of Warwick, UK)*

Nanna Verhoeff (University of Utrecht, NL)*

Chris Perkins (University of Manchester, UK)*

Tristan Thielman (Siegen University, Germany)

Martin Dodge (University of Manchester, UK)

Joe Gerlach (University of Oxford, UK)

Gregory Asmolov (LSE, UK)

Barry Brown (University of Glasgow, UK)

Muki Haklay (UCL, UK)

Lisa Parks (University of California Santa Barbara, USA)

Larissa Hjorth (RMIT, Australia)

Sam Hind (University of Warwick, UK)*

Alex Gekker (University of Utrecht, NL)*

Clancy Wilmott (University of Manchester, UK)*

It aims to bring together a variety of researchers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplinary and methodological backgrounds who share a common focus on digital mapping. The workshop will run in June at the University of Warwick.”

All * individuals are affiliated to the Charting the Digital project.