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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 projec…

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: GIS Workshop Selected Final Maps
View more documents from Matthew Wilson.

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 …

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'.

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.]