Aufnahme Datum 2013-07-15


Prof. Sarah Elwood






Department Geographie und Geowissenschaften



Geography, GIScience, and society at large continue to grapple with the implications of newly emerging geospatial media – an ever-expanding range of interactive Internet and mobile technologies that enable collection, compilation, mapping, and dissemination of spatial data by vast numbers of people. The so-called ‘geoweb’ presents fundamental challenges for three or more decades of GIScience theory and practice developed in relation to conventional geographic information systems, and re-situates a number of the concerns of critical GIS scholars with regard to the societal significance of geospatial data and technologies. In this paper, I show how some of the longstanding concerns of critical GIS scholarship can illuminate several of the fundamental arenas of societal transformation stemming from the geoweb: Global and local social relations around privacy and surveillance, socio-technological
practices of activism and civic engagement, and the education of citizens prepared to engage a geoweb world. I use examples from my own recent research in each of these arenas to characterize the specific nature and implications of these transformations and to point to the pervasive presence of social, political, and technological inequalities in each arena. One of the most important legacies of critical GIS scholarship to carry forward into geoweb research and practice is its deep attention to and intervention in inequalities and exclusions wrought through digital spatial data and technologies. Creating a more just GI society in the face of new spatial technologies demands our ongoing effort to sustain these commitments.