Week 15: “Spatial Data and (De)colonization” Reading

For our final reading of the semester, we’ll review a recent article from a special issue of the academic journal Cartographica called “Decolonizing the Map: Recentering Indigenous Mappings.”

A PDF of the introduction to this special issue is here. The abstract for the introduction to this special issue reads:

“For over five centuries, cartographic map-making has played a pivotal role as a political technology of empire-building, settler colonialism, and the dispossession of Indigenous lands. Yet Indigenous peoples themselves have long engaged in their own mapping practices to share ancestral knowledge, challenge colonial rule, and reclaim Indigenous “place-worlds.” Although there is now a sizable body of scholarly literature on the mapping of empire, this special issue on “Decolonizing the Map” aims to recenter Indigenous mappings and decolonial cartographies as spatial practices of world-making. In this introductory article, we provide an overview of the theory and praxis of decolonial mapping and outline the key themes of the contributions to the present special issue. Drawing upon insights from this edited collection, we conclude that decolonial mapping requires a recentering of Indigenous geographical knowledge, respect for Indigenous protocols, and the active participation of Indigenous peoples in the mapping process itself if the project of decolonizing the map is to truly move beyond the colonial cartographic frame.”

That covers quite a bit of complex ground:

  • maps as a “political technology of empire building”
  • a part of “settler colonialism”
  • and a means of the “dispossession of Indigenous lands”

But then also: “Indigenous peoples themselves have long engaged in their own mapping practices to share ancestral knowledge, challenge colonial rule, and reclaim Indigenous ‘place-worlds.'”

In other words, the suggestion is that mapping has been a devastating tool used against the interests of Indigenous people, but it need not necessarily be so, especially with a strategy and methodology for “decolonial mapping.”

We will read one article from this special journal issue, “Spatial Data and (De)colonization: Incorporating Indigenous Data Sovereignty Principles into Cartographic Research” by Annita Hetoeve·hotohke’e Lucchesi. This is published as Cartographica 55:3, 2020, pp. 163–169.

The abstract from Hetoeve·hotohke’e Lucchesi’s article:

“This article asks how a better understanding of Indigenous cultures as inherently scientifically rigorous can change how academic researchers do work in Indigenous communities, and how non-Indigenous researchers, particularly those in fields such as cartography and geography, can learn from Indigenous ideas of protocol and sovereignty as part of the scientific process to transform their work in our communities into something that truly benefits Indigenous peoples. In exploring these questions, this article posits Indigenous data sovereignty and traditional diplomatic protocols as a means of strengthening cartographic and geographic research in collaboration with Indigenous communities and argues that integrating these principles into such research is necessary for work that strives towards decolonization.”

Pawnee “Star” Chart

  • map of the heavens (stars) interspersed with actual earthly locations
  • “…its point is more likely to draw the crucial connections in Pawnee cosmology between cosmic forces…and the tribe’s social and religious organizations that reflect and interact with those heavenly forces” (Nabokov, p. 252).

Here too are some interesting propositions:

  1. Understand Indigenous cultures as inherently scientifically rigorous
    1. Protests by indigenous Hawaiians against telescope construction on Mauna Kea: 
      1. “I attended a class taught at Pu’uhonua o Pu’u Huluhulu, the learning centre established at the camp, offered by Ka- leikoa Ka’eo, an elder and university professor who has been fighting desecration of the Mauna for decades. In this class, Ka’eo taught us that the Hawaiian language had words for the space–time continuum, and that Kanaka Maoli knew we as humans are made up of the same elements as the stars and that water was the basis for all life, before Western scientists could even dream of such concepts. In saying this, he reminded us that these are examples of how Kanaka culture is inherently scientific, and that expressions of Kanaka culture and self-determination are rooted in that ancestral science, and not the primitive stereotypes Western scientists and colonial agencies assume.”
      2.  “However, it was not just the university classes that were guided by Kanaka science. The deep respect for the mountain and surrounding environment and the commitment to maintaining Kanaka cultural knowledge and relationships to the land and allied Pacific Islander communities were evident in every moment and every space in the camp. This is representative of deep knowledge of the mountain, the plants, the stars, the ocean, and the greater ecological systems of which we are all a part.
  2. How non-Indigenous researchers can learn from Indigenous ideas of protocol and sovereignty as part of the scientific process to transform their work in our communities into something that truly benefits Indigenous peoples
    1. “Though every group does them differently, the general principles remain the same; you cannot visit territories and communities to which you do not belong without first asking permission to be there, offering gifts and support to the people you are visiting, introducing your- self and saying who you are accountable to, and allowing them to determine if and how to welcome you into their spaces.”
    2. This brings me to the purpose of this article – if protocols and ethics review can be a powerful, moving, and at times beautiful experience in Indigenous communities, then why do we allow Western institutions to make them intimidating, bureaucratic, and something to be dreaded?

It would seem that considering the context of Indigenous people, as a source for mappable information and a guide for mapping practice, might be applicable to any situation where you are engaging with people, generating data, and mapping. For example, one might imagine how these ideas could be applied to the generation of the data for and map of the counter food desert map from the “Desert Wonderings” article we read earlier.

Please read the entire article (and the introduction to the special issue if you want).

  • Specific students, please pay attention to these parts of the article, and be prepared to say a bit about them (feel free to look up additional information).
  • Please also consider how these ideas could be used more broadly in mapping (eg., not only with indigenous people)

Introduction (Braden, Carroll)

Cartography in Indigenous Communities: A Brief History of Where Things Have Gone Wrong (Hayes, Wade)

  • mapping as a tool of colonialism
  • Dawes Act: transfer Indigenous lands to white settlers (via mapping)
  • Yet: maps are not inherently colonial (or are they?)
    • I’ve gotten myself in trouble over this point: in essence:
      • maps emerge around 1500 as a tool of colonialism and a concept which emerges from colonialism
      • many previous inscriptions (particularly in the Indigenous world) were never called “maps” nor is there such a concept or term in Indigenous languages (that I know of)
      • thus the Western, colonial concept of map colonized and appropriated inscriptions and recast them as maps
    • The failure of participatory mapping with Indigenous people
      • Hi, I’m here from the University to help you make maps! (problem)
      • Encased in Western mapping traditions, encoded in practices and software
      • Belief in the folksy, non-scientific character of Indigenous knowledge
    • Indigenous science need not prove itself to Western Science
      • “…this argument is not about defending the validity of Indigenous epistemologies by comparing them to Western practices. Instead, it seeks to position Indigenous practices as science in their own right, without a need for comparison. Indigenous science, and all the culturally specific variations of epistemologies and practices within it, does not need to prove itself (and certainly Western science never had to do so) or be measured or quantified; it simply needs to be acknowledged as valid and made space for.”

Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Land-Based Best Practices

“Indigenous data sovereignty is a term used to describe Indigenous peoples’ rights to own data about themselves and their communities and to determine who accesses those data and how they are used and what data on their communities are collected and how.”

• it would be nice if all of us had this kind of sovereignty over our own data

“I build on the IPSG’s declaration by arguing that Indigenous diplomatic protocols such as those at the camp to defend Mauna Kea are an expression of political and cultural sovereignty, and their teachings can help us better articulate how to uphold data sovereignty in mapping work within Indigenous communities. These protocols are indeed uniquely suited to guide cartography projects, because they are rooted in connections to land and territory as well as building relationships across places and cultures.”

A “best practice” for upholding Indigenous data sovereignty inspired by such diplomatic protocols might be that researchers approach Indigenous communities first by asking permission to be there, introducing themselves and the networks to which they are accountable, and offering their skills and gifts for the community to use as they see fit. This is a radically different perspective from the bulk of academic work done in Indigenous communities, and even the IRB/HSR process as framed by Western institutions, both of which are structured around receiving consent for the researcher to collect something he or she want, rather than asking the community what they need or want.”

  • Each of the 13 points after “…I have attempted to summarize points such as these by offering a practical guide to integrating Indigenous data sovereignty into cartographic research…”
  1. (Braden) Above all else, the protocols of the specific community you intend to map should be respected, followed, and deferred to. If you do not know these protocols, or anyone you can ask about these protocols, then you are not competent or adequately prepared to do the work.
  2. (Carroll) Do not assume the community you are intending to map does not already have trained cartographers capable of doing the work you intend to do. Many tribal governments in the United States, for example, have natural resources departments and tribal historic preservation offices with staff who are trained to create maps in a culturally sensitive way.
  3. (Hayes) Do not solicit Indigenous people to participate in a mapping project they did not ask for. Instead, make it known that you have skills as a cartographer and institutional power and access to funds as an academic researcher that you are willing to volunteer and mobilize to serve an Indigenous community. Then wait to be asked for this help.
  4. (Wade) Do not travel to an Indigenous community for mapping-based research if you are not willing to connect with the land solely in a manner that the community feels is appropriate. Do not gather plants or medicines without permission, do not arrive with a feeling of entitlement to attend religious or cultural events, and do not expect to map sacred places.
  5. (Babbage) Do not travel to an Indigenous community for mapping-based research without previously extensively researching the history and ongoing legacies of violent colonization as it affects that community.
  6. (Frawley) Understand that as Indigenous peoples, some of our most sacred and sensitive information is the knowledge and stories we carry about our lands and significant places. This means that if you are coming to map any of our stories or knowledge, you have a responsibility to develop the cultural and technical competence to do the work in a respectful way. This should include undergoing the community’s IRB/ HSR process, sharing the work you intend to do with the tribal council or leadership, gathering gifts to give to those who share their knowledge with you, and developing a data storage and use plan in collaboration with the community.
  7. (Frisch) Be willing to acknowledge that open source mapping platforms could compromise the community’s data sovereignty, inform them of that in the planning process, and be willing to explore alternatives and think creatively.
  1. (Rousch)  Understand that you may be asked to create maps that are not for public distribution, that may never be allowed to be published, because they hold sensitive information – view those moments as gifted experiences of trust, not roadblocks to publications.
  2. (Braden)  Understand that the community has a fundamental right to own the data on their lands and people. Just because you gather it does not mean it belongs to you.
  3. (Gupta)  Do not assume that GIS or other Western styles of mapping are useful or desirable for a project in collaboration with an Indigenous community. Make those options available, but be open to utilizing their own mapping practices in the project, and be ready to defend those practices as legitimate in academic and political spaces.
  4. (Hayes)  Create opportunities to help in building the capacity of the community to continue to create their own maps moving forward. This may mean training interns or assistants, offering free community workshops, mentoring local high school and under- graduate students, giving the equipment and software purchased for the project to the community when the project is finished, and assisting the community with seeking additional funding to support their develop- ment and capacity to do their own mapping.
  5. (Wade)  Do not expect an academic publication out of any collaboration with an Indigenous community. If this is something that you feel would be helpful to them or the project, let them know, ask for their permission, and offer them the opportunity to be co-authors.
  6. (Gupta)  This list comprises recommendations for actions that are largely at the level of the individual re- searcher; that said, institutions also have a role to play. Academic funding requirements and time limitations can present challenges to researchers, but these barriers in turn require two responses: (1) researchers should attempt to navigate around these barriers by shifting to alternate forms of funding and a project timeline that invests in the work over a longer period of time, and (2) researchers have an obligation to work to remove these barriers as scholars or members of research communities by challenging institutions to shift to better incorporate Indigenous data sovereignty practices into their frameworks.

Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Cartography: Charting a Decolonized Future (Gupta)

One more recommendation: “…it’s all about relationships. As researchers, we have a responsibility to build relationships with the communities in which we work, defined by deep respect, humility, and generosity. The research will be better for it, as will our communities. No matter what culture, community, institution, or discipline we come from, we are each diplomats representing something bigger than ourselves; it is on us to represent those things in a good way, and to work with Indigenous communities and sovereign nations with the respect they command and the inherent self-determination they carry.”

Week 13: Feminist Data Visualization

“Feminist Data Visualization” by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein is a precursor to the book published last year called Data Feminism. We will read and discuss the former, but I’ll include some details from the latter below.

“Feminist Data Visualization” PDF here.
Data Feminism book information here.

Ponder these questions, look up citations, and google stuff: examples are always good:

  1. What are Feminist Science and Technology Studies? (M. Hayes)
  2. What is Feminist Human-Computer Interaction? (A. Carroll)
  3. What is Digital Humanities and what is Feminist Digital Humanities? (D. Braden)
  4. Where does Critical Cartography & GIS (which we have discussed) fit into this all? (D. Babbage)
  5. Principles of Feminist Data Visualization: think up or find examples that fit the principles
    1. What does it mean to Rethink Binaries? Examples in mapping and GIS? (N. Malenda, A. Carroll)
    2. What does it mean to Embrace Pluralism? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Frawley, M. Wade)
    3. What does it mean to Examine Power and Aspire to Empowerment? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Roush, D. Braden)
    4. What does it mean to Consider Context? Examples in mapping and GIS? (S. Gupta, D. Babbage)
    5. What does it mean to Legitimize Embodiment and Affect? Examples in mapping and GIS? (D. Frisch, M. Wade)
    6. What does it mean to Make Labor Visible? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Hayes)
  6. Is this approach helpful, and how? What are the potential long term impacts of these kinds of concepts and ideas on mapping and GIS, and society in general? (everyone)

Donna Haraway, Primate Visions (1989): Successive ideas and paradigms in primate research (on topics like parenting, behavior, sex, resource use, and warfare) have tended to reflect the historical social concerns and anxieties of the period of their investigation, and were often imbued with sexist, racist, and colonial discourses.”

(image source)


A young woman buried with stone tools including spearheads 9000 years ago in what is now Peru probably hunted animals including deer. The finding may help overturn long-standing assumptions about gender roles in ancient hunter-gatherer communities in the Americas.

Within present-day hunter-gatherer communities across North and South America, women make up at least one-third of the hunting force, and possibly as much as half, says Randy Haas at the University of California, Davis.

However, although archaeological investigations over the past century have also found hunting tools in the graves of prehistoric women throughout the Americas, Haas says it took the unearthing of a young woman’s bones in the Andes mountains for scientists to set aside their unconscious biases about gender roles and recognise what they were seeing.

“There is sexist ideology in Western culture that may have slowed our ability to recognise females as hunters in the past,” says Haas, adding that he himself was “surprised, unfortunately” by his discovery.

“Even some of the most forward-thinking feminist scholars had accepted it to be true [that women weren’t usually hunters],” he says.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2258985-men-and-women-in-early-americas-shared-hunting-duties-equally/#ixzz6dFHFn6yP

Americans often idealize scientists as unbiased, objective observers. But scientists are affected by conscious and unconscious biases

For more than 150 years, dating back at least to Charles Darwin’s writings on sexual selection, scientists have generally considered bird song to be a male trait.

But over the past 20 years, research has shown that both males and females in many bird species sing

Recent findings have shown that female song is widespread, and it is likely that the ancestor of all songbirds had female song.

In a recently published study, we reviewed 20 years of research on female bird song and found that the key people driving this recent paradigm shift were women.


Krygier’s Notes and Thoughts

Collections to look at…


  • Contrast between “revealing” and “insight” and even “discovery” vs. a more situated approach to knowledge, knowledge construction  and understanding
    • Is data discovered or created?   (source)
  • feminist theory “encompasses a range of ideas about how identity is constructed, how power is assigned, and how knowledge is generated, as well as how a range of intersectional forces [19] such as race, class, and ability, combine to influence the experience of being in the world.”
    • identity
    • power
    • knowledge
    • intersectionality  (source)
  • Goal: ” to encourage the development of a range of alternative visualization practices that better emphasize the design decisions associated with data and its visual display.”
  • “Exposing the assumptions involved in choices about data type, categorization schema, visual typology, interaction mode, and intended audience; as well as those associated with the qualitative aspects of visualization design and its reception, such as the composition and structure of the design team, the identification and involvement of user communities, the contextual and affective factors that influence both the design and reception of visualizations, and the many forms of labor that contribute to a successful visualization design.”

“Dear Data: Feminist Information Design’s Resistance to Self-Quantification.” Miriam Kienle, Feminist Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2019), pp. 129-158.

Every Sunday for one year, information designers Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec sent each other a hand-drawn postcard that featured a data visualization of their week as it pertained to a single aspect of their daily lives: doors opened, clocks checks, sounds heard, smells perceived, and so on. With this series of postcards exchanged between Brooklyn and London, Lupi and Posavec gained intimate knowledge of one another through their small/slow data, and at the same time, they produced a critical examination of the capture, interpretation, and visualization of their daily data from a uniquely feminist perspective.


  • “As the binary distinction between male and female, as well as the hierarchical relation that posits male above female, have been abstracted to serve as models for a range of structures and systems, feminist theory has been marshaled in order to challenge the validity of a variety of binaristic (source) and hierarchical  (source) configurations.
    • how have the male/female binaries (and hierarchies) shaped many aspects of our lives, culture and society
    • “traits traditionally seen as masculine (such as aggression and self-assuredness) are also seen as beneficial in the business world. Research suggests that these traditional views of masculinity have perpetuated bias and inequality in the economy, leading to “toxic masculinity.” Further, as we expand beyond the gender binary of male and female and push for equality among all genders, our understanding of masculinity, and its role in the economy, is shifting.” (source)
  • By the same token, expansions of feminist theory – crucially, intersectional feminism – have been employed to overturn systems of oppression that cannot be reduced to a single structure or source.”  (source)
    • “Intersectionality is a feminist theory, a methodology for research, and a springboard for a social justice action agenda. It starts from the premise that people live multiple, layered identities derived from social relations, history and the operation of structures of power. Intersectional analysis aims to reveal multiple identities, exposing the different types of discrimination and disadvantage that occur as a consequence of the combination of identities. It aims to address the manner in which racism, patriarchy, class oppression and other systems of discrimination create inequalities that structure the relative positions of women. It takes account of historical, social and political contexts and also recognises unique individual experiences resulting from the coming together of different types of identity.” (source)

2.1 Feminist Science and Technology Studies

  • “Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field that emerged in the 1960s and 70s. STS examines the social, cultural, and historical aspects of science and technology.”
  • “One of the key contributions of STS has been to challenge the idea that science and/or technology is objective and neutral by demonstrating how scientific thought is situated in particular cultural, historical, economic, and social systems.”  (source)
  • “Feminist STS, both implicitly and explicitly, looks to the perspectives of those marginalized by current power configurations (including and especially those marginalized because of gender, sexuality, race, and/or ethnicity) as a way of exposing how their perspectives are not included in what is considered “objective” truth.” medicine | spatial thinking 

2.2 Feminist Human-Computer Interaction

In both feminist HCI and critical information visualization, researchers have introduced design principles that attempt to draw attention to how knowledge resides in specific bodies (disclosure/self-disclosure, embodiment), how power is distributed throughout the design process (empowerment, advocacy, ecology) and how to include more voices and alternative perspectives in the design process, as well as the experience of the resulting artifact (participation, pluralism, plurality).   (source) |  (source)

2.3 Feminist Digital Humanities

In terms of visualization work, gender – especially as it relates to issues of authorship and style – has long served as a subject of DH research, e.g. [46].   (source) However, the visualizations that accompany such analyses almost always employ standard representational techniques [45]. Recently, Miriam Posner [65] identified the development of new visual strategies for the representation of non-binary gender as one of the most pressing challenges of DH today.  (source)

2.4 Critical Cartography & GIS

Cartographers such as JB Harley challenged the perceived neutrality of the map and introduced notions of ideology and bias [40, 41]. While he did not explicitly draw on feminist theory, Harley argued for the situatedness of maps as historically and culturally contingent documents. During the same period, Denis Wood connected maps explicitly to the rise of the nation-state and showed how maps serve political interests [82]. Other scholars linked Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to an impoverished techno-positivism [64] and militarism [71]. Subsequent scholarship theorized the map more as rhetorical proposition than depiction of “fact” [81].   (source)


3.1 Rethink Binaries

Central to feminist theory is the disavowal of binary distinctions– not only between the categories of male and female, but also between nature and culture [37], subject and object [43], reason and emotion [54], and body and world [4], among many others. A feminist approach to data visualization should therefore emphasize representational strategies premised on multiplicity rather than binaries, and acknowledge the limits of any binaristic view [53].

      Revenge mapping: still polarized (source)

 Red and blue and purple and polarization (source)


Not only a challenge for the visualization phase of research, rethinking the representation of gender, among other binaristic categories, challenges us to inquire how the processes associated with data collection and classification, as well as their visual display, might be made to better account for a range of multiple and fluid categories.

Design Process Questions: Is our data the right type? What categories have we taken for granted? How can we register responses that do not fit into the categories we have provided, even and especially if they are “edge cases” and “outliers”?

Design Output Questions: How do we communicate the limits of our categories in the final representation? How can we allow the user to refactor the categories we have presented for view?

3.2 Embrace Pluralism

Feminist theory seeks to challenge claims of objectivity, neutrality and universalism, emphasizing instead how knowledge is always constructed within the context of a specific subject position [8, 38, 39, 54].  (source) In the context of data visualization, a focus on the designer’s own subject position can help to expose the decisions, both implicit and explicit, that contribute to the creation of any particular visual display.

Ideally, a focus on pluralism would help visualization research move away from its current emphasis on “objective” presentation in favor of designs that facilitate pathways to multiple truths.   (source)

Design Process Questions: Whose voices are not represented on the design team but might be important for the conceptualization of the project? Who is being envisioned as the ideal user? How could additional perspectives be accommodated, even those considered marginal? Whose perspectives have been excluded from the categorization schema? For example, collecting gender in female/male buckets excludes transgender, gender-fluid and two-spirit people.

Design Output Questions: Can the artifact communicate the subject positions of the researcher(s) and designer(s) in a transparent way? Whose view of the world does the visualization represent?  &     (source) Can the visualization communicate whose voices are missing?   (source). Could perspective-taking be a useful strategy to consider for multiple views on the data?

3.3 Examine Power and Aspire to Empowerment

A feminist approach to data visualization therefore acknowledges the user as a source of knowledge in the design as well as the reception of any visual interface. The creation of knowledge is, after all, always a shared endeavor.

Aspiring to empowerment, then, may involve designing for and evaluating the success of a visualization at the scale of the community rather than the individual user.

Design Process Questions: How is power distributed across the design team? Whose voice matters more and why? How can end-users’ voices be more fully integrated into the design process? Can we build capacity in user communities, or enlarge our internal perspectives, by employing a more participatory design process?

Design Output Questions: Can the visualization empower the end-user and/or her community, group, or organization? (source) &  (source). When do values often assumed to be a social good, such as “choice,” “openness,” or “access,” result in disempowerment instead?

3.4 Consider Context

A central premise of feminist theory is that all knowledge is situated [36], where “situated” refers to the particular social, cultural, and material context in which that knowledge is produced [33]. A feminist approach to data visualization must therefore consider how diverse contexts can influence the production of a visualization, and think through the various ways in which any particular visualization output might be received.   (source)

Design Process Questions: How can we leverage human-centered design [14] and participatory design [72] methods to learn about and with our end-users, including learning more about their culture, history, circumstances, and worldviews? How can we let these insights shape our design practice and change our notions about what constitutes “good” information design?

Design Output Questions: What kinds of terminology, symbols, and cultural artifacts have meaning to end-users, and how can we incorporate those into our designs? What might we learn if we were to visualize “messy” data [68]? How do we take context into account in the assessment of visualizations?

3.5 Legitimize Embodiment and Affect

Feminist theory recognizes embodied and affective experiences – that is, experiences that derive from sensation and emotion – as ways of knowing on par with more quantitative methods of knowing and experiencing the world [13].  (source). By definition, visualization rests on the production and assimilation of visual knowledge. But even the most efficiency-oriented and task-driven visualizations have embodied and affective impact, if only to communicate their utility, economy, and purposefulness by way of the visual domain.

Design Process Questions: How can we leverage embodied and affective experience to enhance visualization design and engage users?   (source) &  (source). What kinds of expertise might we need on our design team in order to do that? (e.g. fine art, graphic design, animation, or communication specialists)

Design Output Questions: What kinds of embodied and affective experience has meaning to end-users? Should we consider tactile, experiential, or social ways of accessing the data visualization? Can we consider visualization outputs in an expanded field, such as data murals [7], data sculptures [1], public walks [2], quilts [48] and installations [63]?

3.6 Make Labor Visible

Information design processes often start with data, but a feminist approach would insist that they begin by working backwards to surface the actors (both individual and institutional) that have labored to generate a particular dataset.

Design Process Questions: Can the team work backwards from the given data to document their provenance and talk to their caregivers? Has the team discussed roles, responsibilities, and credit in advance of publication?

Design Output Questions: Is it feasible to provide a metadata visualization that shows the provenance of the data and their stakeholders (caregivers) at each step? Have we properly attributed work on the project?

Week 12: Feminist Data Visualization ~ Mapping & GIS

Ahoy! I’ve shifted the feminist theory discussion to next week, Monday, November 9, to make way for Wednesday, November 4: reserved for a Day of Delicate Detachment (everyone BYO contribution)

Applying feminist theory to mapping and GIS  may seem weird, but it correlates with some of the broader issues we have been engaged in the class, including the entire idea of crowdsourcing (it’s non-hierarchical, pluralistic, empowering, and so on) as well as the web GIS technologies, which embrace some of these ideas at their core.

“Feminist Data Visualization” by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein was a preface to a book that was published last year called Data Feminism. We will read and discuss the former, but I’ll include some details from the latter below.

“Feminist Data Visualization” PDF here.
Data Feminism book information here.

Ponder these questions, look up citations, and google stuff: examples are always good:

  1. What are Feminist Science and Technology Studies? (M. Hayes)
  2. What is Feminist Human-Computer Interaction? (A. Carroll)
  3. What is Digital Humanities and what is Feminist Digital Humanities? (D. Braden)
  4. Where does Critical Cartography & GIS (which we have discussed) fit into this all? (D. Babbage)
  5. Principles of Feminist Data Visualization: think up or find examples that fit the principles
    1. What does it mean to Rethink Binaries? Examples in mapping and GIS? (N. Malenda, A. Carroll)
    2. What does it mean to Embrace Pluralism? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Frawley, M. Wade)
    3. What does it mean to Examine Power and Aspire to Empowerment? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Roush, D. Braden)
    4. What does it mean to Consider Context? Examples in mapping and GIS? (S. Gupta, D. Babbage)
    5. What does it mean to Legitimize Embodiment and Affect? Examples in mapping and GIS? (D. Frisch, M. Wade)
    6. What does it mean to Make Labor Visible? Examples in mapping and GIS? (M. Hayes)
  6. Is this approach helpful, and how? What are the potential long term impacts of these kinds of concepts and ideas on mapping and GIS, and society in general? (everyone)


Week 11: Making Maps & Mobile GIS

For week 11 we shall finish the Making Maps book with four presentations on Monday:

  • Mark Frawley: ch. 9
  • Mackenzie Wade: ch. 10
  • Derek Frisch: ch. 11
  • McKenna Roush: ch. 12

For Wednesday, let’s have Ch. 4 of the Getting to know WebGIS book done. I say some somber words about that fine chapter.

Please chime in with updates on your project ideas if you have not already done so.

For next week: some more fun stuff to read and do:

Week 12: WebGIS: Tile Layers
Read / Complete: PF ch. 5 & “Feminist Data Visualization
Monday, Nov. 2: Discuss: PF Ch. 5 Tile Layers

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Discuss “Feminist Data Visualization” by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein (also here) and come up with examples from mapping / GIS / web mapping that apply to the six principles. For example, Google: map cartography affective

Week 10: Making Maps Marathon and Food Desert Mapping

For this week, beyond bumping through four more chapters of the Making Maps book on Monday, lettuce take a look at a paper called Desert Wonderings.

Here is a copy of the article with some of my highlighting, if you care

Put some notes and comments and questions in your weekly blog posting.

Be ready to say something about these ideas in terms of the paper – and the idea of food deserts and food desert maps – and your class project (which might be more of an effort!)

In this reading, and discussion, we are putting a real-world case together with the mapping: which is the way it should be.

  • Maps show us “reality” but filtered through our ideas & concepts about the world.
  • Ideas/concepts shape how we collect data (primary, secondary) for mapping
  • What if the ideas/concepts have problems?
  • Does that mean the data has problems?
  • Does that mean the map has problems?
  • Are the ideas/concepts, or data, or maps wrong?
  • How can you make sure your concepts/ideas are more appropriate?
  • How might that shape data collection, and the final map?

Some sources

Week 8: Followup

Just a few additions to the announced changes to the schedule (see previous post):

Monday, October 12: 1 paragraph draft of course project idea (discuss in class)

Wednesday, October 21: Revised course project proposal (post to blog)

Wednesday, October 21: Read and Discuss “Desert Wonderings

  • This is an article about mapping “food deserts” and the problem with the concepts behind what we map.

Week 8: Course Project & Rest of Semester

Geography 353, like 2020 in general, keeps stumbling along, headed in a direction that has now altered a bit.

I’ve updated the course Schedule and Evaluation pages. Pooray.

For this week:

Week 8: Course Project & Rest of Semester

Monday, Oct. 5: Work Day!
Wednesday, Oct. 7: Brief Presentations of Progress (PF Ch. 1 -3) & Course Project & Rest of Semester

Monday, October 5: Since I’m getting this update to you a bit later than I expected (my Dr. said chill out! I did. Sorry) let us have another workday on Monday. As usual, I’m nappy to meet on Zoom or email if you have questions.

Wednesday, October 7: I’d like to hear from all of you, summarizing your efforts to read and complete the tutorial work in Getting to Know WebGIS chapters 1-3. Then I’d like to talk about the Course Project and the rest of the semester.

Course project: I am going to scale this back as several project ideas that I had planned have fallen through. I’d like you to undertake your own project using the WebGIS stuff you are learning in the book. This can be just about anything. A few of you had ideas expressed earlier in the course.

Alternatively, look at the Assignment at the end of each chapter in the Getting to Know WebGIS book. These general assignments (which we did not complete, instead focusing on the tutorial part of the chapter) give you a good outline for a project that would draw from the techniques learned in the chapter.

The project is worth 75 points, and if you look at the Evaluation page for the course, you will see that this is about three times more points than working through and documenting one of the book chapter tutorials. That should give you a comparative idea of how much work to put into the project. The project should be completed by the end of the semester.

Reading and Presenting Making Maps: we also neglected to spend much time on the readings from the Making Maps book. I’ve now included a Making Maps Marathon for weeks 9, 10, and 11. I’ve split the book into three sections and will have each of you present a chapter. Shoot for a 10-15 minute overview and feel free to use the PDF for the book as part of your presentation.

Week 9: Monday, October 12:

  • Dustin Braden: up to and including ch. 2
  • Derek Babbage: ch. 3
  • Anthony Carroll: ch. 4

Week 10: Monday, October 19:

  • Makena Hayes: ch. 5
  • Xi Wang: ch. 6
  • Nick Malenda: ch. 7
  • Sakshi Gupta: ch. 8

Week 11: Monday, October 26:

  • Mark Frawley: ch. 9
  • Mackenzie Wade: ch. 10
  • Derek Frisch: ch. 11
  • McKenna Roush: ch. 12

Week 11 will also mark our return to the Getting to Know WebGIS book, and we will work on chapter 4 for that week, and subsequent weeks will cover chapters 5-8.

End of the Semester: What is due at the end of the semester is your course project and a digital portfolio, consisting of links to all your weekly assignments (so I can review them quickly, and to help you make sure you did them all) as well as a final assessment. The final assessment should not take too long, is “open book” and consists of having you read one short article and reflect on the course.

Week 6: Map Design + Experience Builder/Web AppBuilder

For week 6 of this bedeviled class, please fling your brains into KW ch. 6, 7, and Read / Complete: PF ch. 3. As uysual, add yhour notes to your blog for the week. I seem to be typing extyra y’s today. Y you ask? I’m outside on my front porch and it’s actually cold and my hands are a bit sluggishy.

I’ll talk thru PF ch. 3 with my insightful comments tomorrow (Mondya, Stp. 21).

On Wednesday: please let us go around the class and share the following (about 10 minutes each)

  • Five exciting things you learned in KW up thru chapter 7
  • Two things each you learned of note in PF through chapter 3

As always, use the Google Group for questions, and I’m happy to meet (Zoom): just let me know some times that work for you.