Playing with time and maps

timemap 1Click the map to see more

Last year I was introduced to Timemapper (open source software developed by Open Knowledge Foundation Labs) at a HILT course on Digital Pedagogy led by Jesse Strommel and Lee Skallerup-BessetteIt’s easy to use with a template spreadsheet and 1-2-3 instructions.  The results are visually appealing and useful for charting connections and identities between people or things.

I think that with the mini Timemap I’ve linked above, I’ve made a mini path into GIS mapping technologies and I’m enthusiastic about using this tech in the classroom and thinking about how this digital tool helps me think about space, global and local connections, and time.  For instance writing about navigational maps and digital tools using GPS technology , Valérie November, Eduardo Camacho-Hübner, and Bruno Latour suggest that such maps work by building connections between points or signposts on the map.  One finds one’s way from the ground, as it were, rather than from above by looking at the map as a whole where space is typically devoid of people or things. From this grounded viewpoint, maps show imagined, uncertain lived experience where, as these authors suggest,

“everything is on the move again.  . . . maps now strike you not as what represent a world ‘out there’ but as the dashboards of a calculation interface that allows you to pinpoint successive signposts while you move through the world.”

My mini Timemap presents a way of visualizing the world that puts real people (and dogs) into the globe. Even to read it, one has to travel about the screen and select the signposts I’ve set in.  Here, perhaps, the parts of the map exceed the whole.

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