Map Up 2: Auditing and Accountability

Type: Virtual Panel
Sponsor Groups: Digital Geographies Specialty Group, Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group, Cartography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 40
Organizers: Eric Huntley, Taylor Shelton
Chairs: Taylor Shelton


The past several decades have seen geographers and others outline and enact a wide range of radical mapping practices. We benefit from a discipline that has given sustained and critical attention to those questions of power/empowerment, expertise/knowledge, and exploitation/liberation that tend to co-occur when mapping meets the ground. This work has traveled under many banners, within and adjacent to geography: a non-exhaustive list would include PPGIS (Sieber 2006), participatory action mapping (Bosse and Hankins 2018), community geography (Shannon et al. 2020), critical GIS (Thatcher et al. 2016), feminist mapping (Kelly 2019), data feminism (D’Ignazio and Klein 2020), data action (Williams Forthcoming), and design justice (Costanza-Chock 2020).

These traditions are in many ways quite distinct; they draw on divergent bodies of theory and articulate divergent forms of practice. However, they share a predisposition towards a democratized knowledge politics, a desire to map ‘from marginal lives’ (Harding 1991), and an ethic of collaboration and mutuality that guards against data extractivism and ‘geopiracy’ (Wainwright 2013). In other words, critical mapmakers generally take care to ‘study down’, as Laura Nader (1972) once said of anthropologists. These literatures have together outlined multiple forms of practice that negotiate the positionality of the relatively privileged researcher mapping forms of oppression alongside and with oppressed folks.

Building on the invaluable work discussed above, this panel session will entertain the possibility that critical mapping might make important empirical, theoretical, and political interventions by following Nader’s call and ‘mapping up’: mapping evictors, not just evictions; extractors, not just extraction; colonizers, not just colonization; white supremacists, not just white supremacy. Following similar calls from outside geography (Barabas et al. 2020; Seaver 2014; Aguiar and Schneider 2016), this panel convenes scholars and activists who will share work, stories, and insights from practices and projects that ‘map up’.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Taylor Shelton Georgia State University 5 3:05 PM
Panelist Catherine D'Ignazio MIT 15 3:10 PM
Panelist Neeti Nayak ESRI 15 3:25 PM
Panelist James Thatcher University of Washington Tacoma 15 3:40 PM
Panelist Marissa Defratti Esri 15 3:55 PM
Discussant Eric Huntley Massachusetts Institute of Technology 10 4:10 PM

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