Cyborg Cartography

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Melbourne, Australia on OpenStreetMap, December 2009.


"OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.

"The maps are created using data from portable GPS devices, aerial photography, other free sources or simply from local knowledge. Both rendered images and the vector graphics are available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license".

"OpenStreetMap was inspired by sites such as Wikipedia; the map display features a prominent 'Edit' tab and a full revision history is maintained. Registered users can upload GPS track logs and edit the vector data using the given editing tools" [1].

Cyborg Cartography

"In the case of [a] disaster...nobody knows at first what is going on--what has been destroyed, what has not, what obstructions are in the way of transportation routes, and so on--this capability would be extremely valuable (an understatement). Whether the cyborg-cartographer works from a helicopter or on the ground, he/she would combine reconnaissance with mapping (and disaster relief), as only the human brain could comprehend what is important to observe".[1]

Karen Pipe argues that the inhabitant of modern, western society is a “cartographic cyborg,” which is to say as someone "so thoroughly intertwined with mapping technologies that it is impossible to say, in terms of knowledge practices, where embodied knowledge ends and technological knowledge begins".[2]

External Links


  1. Cyborg Cartographer Battles Spatial Amnesia
  2. Piper, Karen. Cartographic Fictions: Maps, Race, and Identity. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002