Thursday, September 30, 2010

Participatory Mapping: Engaging Sites, Mobilizing Knowledges

Last week, at the Imagining America conference in Seattle, WA, Sarah Elwood and I co-organized a workshop titled, "Participatory Mapping: Engaging Sites, Mobilizing Knowledges".  With the help of Jin-Kyu Jung, Ryan Burns, and Josef Eckert (and greatly informed by the work of Jentery Sayers), 22 workshop attendees collaborated in six small groups to map the university, using documenting practices like sketching, filming, and photographing.  The workshop packet is below.

Each group was given a theme which was to be expressed through their mapping process.  Themes included: collaboration, movement, culture, politics, and the social.  After a brief, 30-minute field mapping session, each group was able to upload a few items to the collaborative map (see below).  The map is by no means complete (are they ever?), but it gives you a sense of the kinds of practices afforded by visual, mobile technologies.

Session description:
Building on the organizers’ experiences with mapping projects undertaken with middle-school youth and college students, this site visit explore site-making through multi-sensory and multi-modal forms of participatory mapping.  Using the university itself as a site for engagement and a series of imaginative prompts, participants will experiment with various modes of data collection (documenting observations in words, sketch maps, photographs, video and audio clips) and presentation (Google Maps and geo-blogging mashups). Participants will experience participatory mapping as a curious and serendipitous exploration of public spaces, a creative platform for catalyzing new modes of public engagement, a critical tool facilitating the co-production of knowledge and interrogating the spatial intersectionalities of culture, politics, technology, and the social.  The workshop will be framed by reflections on the use of these critical and creative modalities in curricular and collaborative projects from a variety of field perspectives.

Photos captured during the mapping process are located here.
Videos captured during the mapping process are located here.

Map produced:

View Imagining America in a larger map

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Five-minute video wrapping up the 2010 GIS Workshop

The folks over at the Center for Media Design (thanks, Ben, Tommy, and Erin!) have pieced together this snazzy YouTube video documenting the 2010 GIS Workshop.  It contains brief interviews with community partners and my own summary comments on the conclusion of the workshop.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Selected final maps from the 2010 GIS Workshop

Several maps were produced by students of the 2010 GIS Workshop at Ball State University.  I've compiled a selection of these maps into a lower resolution PDF, see below.

City of Muncie Strays in 2009:

City of Muncie Strays in 2009 by Census Tract:

Muncie and Age Over 65 Mobility:

Muncie Predatory Lending and Poverty:

Muncie Childcare Services and Poverty:

Friday, May 28, 2010

GIS Workshop makes front page news at The Star Press

At the conclusion of GIS Workshop (GEOG448/548), each student team presented their findings to community partners.  While all the student teams created products that will greatly assist their community partners, the animal shelter project, in particular, captured the attention of the community partners.  The Star Press, drawing on recent concerns about the operation of the animal shelter, ran a story about the mapping project.

An excerpt:

It's raining stray cats and dogs in Muncie, and there doesn't seem to be any way to stop it.

That's what mapping by Ball State University shows. It also shows the problem is worse in south Muncie, including the Industry Neighborhood.

"There's certainly a south-of-the river phenomenon," said Matt Wilson, an assistant professor of geography and emerging media expert.

But he advises against finger-pointing.

"This is a social justice issue," said Wilson, who predicts the spread of stray animals will only become magnified unless the city tackles issues like unemployment and poverty. [Click for more.]

In my interview at TSP, I discussed the importance of these kinds of collaborations, particularly in the context of the geographical imaginations of Muncie's 'south side' on the part of BSU students and faculty.

Great work, students and community partners!  I'm certainly looking forward to future collaborations in GEOG448/548.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Critical GIS in the classroom

For one academic year, I've attempted a different type of approach to an introductory course in GIS, drawing on various curricular strategies of Nadine Schuurman, Sarah Elwood, Francis Harvey, and Meghan Cope.  In this course, students work through introductory technical skills, while simultaneously reading/writing about and discussing the GIS & Society tradition.  In this brief post, I'm asking students who participated in this introductory GIS course to reflect on what it means to practice 'critical GIS'.

Monday, April 12, 2010

GIS Workshop: "Making an Impact: More than Maps"

A article has just been posted to the BSU "Making an Impact" series.  Articles from this series are randomly displayed on BSU's main homepage.  The direct link is here.

An excerpt:
For Matthew Wilson and his students, geographic information systems (GIS) provide much more information than the quickest route to your driving destination—and with more lasting consequences.

Wilson, a geography professor and 2009-10 Emerging Media Faculty Fellow, worked with 20 undergraduates of various majors on numerous community projects in Muncie. The group's spring 2010 work focused on what is called "critical geographic information systems." [Click for more.]