Tuesday, November 4, 2014

GIS Tools for Critical Thinking

GIS is a literal and metaphorical set of tools for critical thinking. Taking inspiration from two books (Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking; and Gilles Deleuze's Spinoza) "GIS Tools for Critical Thinking" is a planned Place Memes mini-series.

These short conceptual reflections (of which I have approximately 100 potential sketches listed in my notebook) will go beyond the glossary or dictionary format, towards what Deleuze was doing in Spinoza, namely, adumbrating or outlining a new theory of practice.

My new theory of GIS practice is a radical programme for transforming how we think about GIS.  It is also a radical re-thinking of thought itself using GIS tools to drive the programme.  Dennett's memes are relevant here for deconstructing all-too-easy assumptions about what (we think we know) GIS is in order to transform what GIS can be.

Philosophical and practical implications will be considered without distinguishing between theory and practice.  For example, I would like to begin by examining overlay and proximity metaphors as used not only by John Snow, but also by poets, philosophers and critical geographers.  Stay tuned

Monday, September 8, 2014

Society of Cartographers Glasgow Reflections

In addition to attending the RGS annual meeting for the first time this year, I was privileged to have been able to make my first appearance at the Society of Cartographers meeting in Glasgow.  It also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the SoC.  Not only is Glasgow a beautiful and friendly city, with a wonderful University of Glasgow campus on the west side near the Botanic Gardens, but the society members themselves are a very friendly and almost intimidatingly knowledgeable group of people.  They also know how to have fun, and this shone through the entire set of presentations and workshops.

Source: SoC website

Throughout the event I was tweeting like mad, trying to keep up with the flow of information and represent it accurately for others participating in the conference through twitter and the #soc2014 hashtag.  The twitter strategy worked well, and I think I managed to boil down some of the neocartographers insights and technical tips into some useful chunks, with hashtags and handles for further questioning and follow-up.

I have been in touch with Alexander Kent, editor of the society's bulletin, and I will now be taking over book reviews for the bulletin.  Watch this space for more reviews of cartography, mapping, and maps.  I'm hoping that we can continue the trend of focusing a bit more on neocartography, geoweb, mashups, and other online mapping developments.  Keep watching this (and the bulletin's) space!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

PARISH 12: Great Wood and MOD via Longcross and Chobham Common

Today's PARISH exploration was an erratic, hybrid affair.  I ended up finding three places: Knowle Hill, Great Wood, and an MOD site very close to the bizarre Longcross Station, returning through Chobham Common

The entrance to Knowle Hill in Virginia Water

Knowle Hill in Virginia Water

Adjacent to the golf course on a public footpath heading to Great Wood

Near Great Wood, the Longcross train station

Lifting the bicycle (and myself) over this gate was not easy!

What a weird station Longcross is!  Essentially, no way to get in or out

The way I got in, from the golf course side

Carrying the bicycle to the other side of Longcross station platform

Crossing under a major road just past the MOD site very close to Longcross Station

The trolls I assume

Chobham Common, south, outside of Egham Parish, as I have defined it

Picking up my bicycle and waving it at these cattle was the only way through

Corn, and lots of it

Virginia Water, Holloway's other famous building: the sanatorium

Saturday, August 9, 2014

PARISH 11: Egham Hythe and Thorpe Lea

A church near Egham Hythe, which was not my destination today, but I passed right through it (centroid)

I focus today on passageways and entrypoints.  This was was difficult to navigate with a bicycle

I was met by a range of different kinds of gates, fences and latches

This sign admonishes the walker for no apparent reason

This sign is even older, and somehow (to me) appealing in its (lack of) legibility

Stubble (hay) field signifies past abundance, the coming of autumn

A bridge at the edge of Thorpe Hay Meadow Nature Reserve

These gates are a bit easier to navigate with a bicycle

I got into a thicket, a tangle of blackberry bushes and nettles that was hard to get out of, and I admit I was a bit lost

This is as close as I could get to Thorpe Lea (centroid)

Extricating myself

The Clockhouse, on Clockhouse Lane

Also on Clockhouse Lane

The loop closes, end of the line

Sunday, August 3, 2014

PARISH 10: St Ann's Hill

Rode right down to the edge of the parish today before bouncing back in to glance off St Ann's Hill (centroid)

Entering Thorpe from Virginia Water

The intersection towards Lyne

One of the best little roads for cycling, very quiet and scenic

Towards Chertsey now

Approaching St Ann's Hill

There's the entrance to the very quiet residential area on the side of St Ann's Hill

 A dog doctor (a vet?)

If you were a dog you'd think you'd found heaven

Intriguing side path for later exploration at a bend on St Ann's Hill Road

Combining the allocentric (from above, the map) with the egocentric (personal viewpoint) views is what this blog is all about

A map to help me finish the meme

Old watchtower

Watch tower with coat of arms

The view out across the Thames towards Heathrow

Inscriptions beneath the watchtower

The allocentric view of Egham Parish, according to the Ordnance Survey