This is the website and blog of “Charting the Digital” a European Research Council (ERC) project led by Sybille Lammes. The project investigates how digital maps can be simultaneously understood as new media, technologies and cartographies.
Produced by a vast and rapidly expanding (creative) industry, digital maps – as used in navigation devices, mobile augmented reality browsers, web applications, Google Earth, (pervasive) games and locative art projects – have become an important part of many daily activities and have changed the ways that we spatially interact with our environments. Yet we have hardly begun to comprehend how and to what extent they have altered our spatial and cultural practices. With this ERC starting grant I will build up a new research programme to study what the emergence of digital cartographies culturally entails.
The key objective of this research programme is to investigate how digital maps as new techno-cultural phenomena have altered our way of being in and moving through our spatial environments. Central to this qualitative research programme is the notion that digital cartographies allow a greater degree of two-way interaction between map and user than analogue maps do. Digital map users are not just reading maps, but also constantly influence the shape and look of the map itself. At home, at work and while travelling: maps have become more personal, transforming while we navigate with and through them. Digital maps have thus altered our conception of maps as ‘objectified’ representations of space that has been a touchstone for centuries (Anderson 1999, De Certeau 1984, Crampton 2001, Harley 1988, Mukerji 1989, Wood 2002). Such a paradigm shift in the way we use and understand maps, encourages an academic specification of the ways one can speak of a spatio-cultural transformation since the emergence of digital mapping practices.