“The Many Faces of Interactive Urban Maps” presented by Bedö


Session Title:

  • Mediating the Urban

Presentation Title:

  • The Many Faces of Interactive Urban Maps




  • New Urban Maps
    The times of typing a password before the jarring modem connects to the internet were the times when the metaphor of cyberspace was to spread most briskly. It felt like crossing a border after the passport check and entering a new space of text-only communication with people connecting from all over the world. Today’s spread of mobile communication and ubiquitous computing denounce the cyberpunk theories of the nineties that proclaimed the abrogation of physical space and the human body. Digital technologies and sensors inhabit urban space, parts of the digital documents and data along with virtual communities migrate back into geographical space. The internet merges with the geographical space instead of overriding it. This trend is characterized rather by the urban GPS chasing game “Can You See Me Now?” than Second Life.

    As a consequence the classical cartographic paradigm hardly applies to urban space. The street map is not a fixed representation of the terrain anymore. While using GPS and mobile internet in the city we navigate through physical and virtual space, permanently redrawing the map. Spatial annotation systems’ maps can be referred to as new paradigmatic examples of urban mapping. Spatial annotation is mainly the attachment of any digital information, comment or message to a chosen point of geographical space. Tagging with stickers or any other physical tags is referred to as spatial annotation but the interactive maps combined with localization technologies become more and more dominant. Such maps: Bliin, denCity, Plazes, and Urban Tapestries. Depending which map we use, messages can either be attached to any point on the map or to the users actual location (which is generally the case when users are commenting on the actual situation). Further features might include manual or automatic localization, setting the group of people authorized to see the annotation, or the time interval for which the comment should be published.

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