Another Perspective on Mapping

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 This week I have been volunteering to be an editor-at-large for Digital Humanities Now (my post regarding my experience will be coming up in the next few days). I just wanted to take a moment to comment on one piece of news I came across.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The article I am referring to is the following one: 200,000 Years of Staggering Human Population Growth Shown in an Animated Map. This is a map created by the American Museum of Natural History and, in this case, used by senior fellow at Columbia University Andy Stern to illustrate to exponential growth of technology. Overall, the map shows the shift from a relatively short-numbered population until—more or less—100,000 years ago to reaching 170 million people by AD 1. The interactive map also shows the disruptions caused by diseases, famines, plagues and wars until he Middle Ages, as well as a rapid growth in the ensuing centuries.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 However, the reason why I brought up this article has nothing to do with its content—no matter how interesting and educational I do find it. In fact, it reminded me of the argument at the beginning of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. In it, one of the main characters exposes the same reasoning and illustrates the same historical events. This made me think of a connection between GIS and mapping applications and different universes depicted or imagined in written novels.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 I remember when we read Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps and Trees back in October, there was something that kept me thinking after he focuses on, particularly, epistolary, gothic and historical British novels. What if Moretti’s mapping approach would be applied to science-fiction or fantasy novels? Specially, the ones that rely heavily on location. Later on that month my question was answered by Michelle McSweeney when she showed us—among other projects including her own—The Lord of the Rings Project, created by Emil Johansson. But, aside from that one, there are plenty more novels that could be taken into consideration in order to develop interactive maps of their universe, such as Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia or even everything related to King Arthur’s legend and the Matter of Britain. For instance, fans of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones have come up with several open-source interactive maps like the following ones:

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 · A Song of Ice and Fire Speculative World Map.
· Game of Thrones. Interactive Map.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 After these two projects, HBO came up with its own one on the Game of Thrones Viewer’s Guide website.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 I honestly believe that applying GIS software to this genre of literature can make the reader gain a better and deeper insight on these themes in particular, and I look forward to studying more interactive maps like the ones I mentioned above.

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    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

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