Gaia eye view: Linking critical theory to conceptualizations of scale and cartographic user interfaces

Authors: Britta Ricker*, University of Twente
Topics: Cartography, Women, Communication
Keywords: feminism, usability, user interface, scale, cartography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Kwan in the early 2000’s directly asked, “is GIS for women?” Together with several scholars including Schuurman, Pavalaskya, Elwood, and Sieber synthesized the critical discourse from the 1990’s while simultaneously making strides towards practicing feminist GIS. The classic dichotomy traditionally paired quantitative methods with positivism and qualitative methods with critical theory, yet now mixed methods research is becoming increasingly possible and accepted in GIS scholarship. It is well known that maps can be powerful communication tools to convey the distribution and the magnitude of challenges society faces. Some of the early documented barriers to GIS use included cost, ease of use, social uptake, all of which have been significantly reduced. Increasingly, people with access to the internet also have access to data and tools to visualize that data. These data could be used to make maps to lead advocacy efforts linked to gender inequality and feminist discourse, but the creation and use of maps in for such efforts are not straightforward. Echoing the call to “do” more feminist visualization here I link conceptualizations of scale to critical and feminist cartography and how different cartographic user interfaces in the media address or match these critiques. I use this to frame a discussion in a feminist geography workflow, to address how a user interface may influence the user to read between the lines and consider what is missing from the data and the map. GIS is for women and there is still a need to continue to infiltrate the cyborg.

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