Cybercartography is a new theoretical construct proposed by D.R. Fraser Taylor (1997, 2003). It is the organization, presentation, analysis and communication of spatially referenced information on a wide variety of topics of interest and use to society in an interactive, dynamic, multimedia, multisensory and multidisciplinary format. Beyond its multiple specificities (Taylor, 2003), cybercartography offers an unprecedented opportunity for deeply rethinking the way we design, produce, disseminate and use maps on the Internet. These changes require a new cartographic paradigm that can be approached from different perspectives.
Cybercartography and Interdisciplinarity
The effective integration of different disciplines and methodologies is a challenge. To address this challenge we propose the Cybercartographic Integrated Research Framework (CIRF, Eddy, 2002). This framework will be used to better address interdisciplinarity complexity while organizational theory will inform how we collaborate to facilitate this process.
Cybercartography and Education
Maps, as well as the Internet, are often used for educational purposes. But we know little about the pedagogical rewards of combining maps (and other media) and the Internet. This research will explore assumptions using methods from cognitive science and human computer interaction research.
Cybercartography and Territorial Representations
Because map forms have changed and are constantly changing with the Internet, one can argue that cybermaps change the way people envision territories. What are the consequences of cybercartography and the way spatial phenomena are analyzed (visualization) / portrayed (communication) / understood (deciphered)?
Cybercartography and Cartography
Cybercartography is a new approach to map making and it is vital to analyze what influence the "old" medium (like paper maps) - highly connotated - should have on these new media. What should be kept (or not) from these "old" media? Cybercartography will also involve a status change for (cyber)cartographers. What might the consequences of cybercartography be on the secular discipline of cartography?
Seven Elements & Six Ideas
The main products of cybercartography are Cybercartographic Atlases. A cybercartographic atlas is a metaphor for all kinds of qualitative and quantitative information linked through their location. Location is a central organizing principle informed by new concepts of the map and the process of mapping. Cybercartography is a holistic concept which combines these elements and is informed by the interaction between theory and practice. While the map is considered central to cybercartography, the notion of geographic narrative underpins the concept. Maps and associated media can help to tell stories about people, places, space and society. The following ideas are central to D. R. F. Taylor's current thinking on cybercartography:
- Is multisensory using vision, hearing, touch and eventually smell and taste
- Uses multimedia formats and new telecommunications technologies such as the World Wide Web (e.g. Web 2.0, mobile devices)
- Is highly interactive and engages the user in new ways - user-centric and interactive, understanding and engaging the user in new ways through user needs analysis and usability studies, wiki atlases and "edutainment" (online educational games). Cybercartographic "users" can become "creators".
- Is not a stand alone product like the traditional map but part of an information/analytical package including both qualitative and quantitative information. The Cybercartographic Atlas Framework provides an organizational approach for the emerging products and processes of the Web 2.0 era of social computing.
- Is compiled by teams of individuals typically from different domains including disciplines not normally associated with cartography
- Is applied to a wide range of topics, not only to location finding and the physical environment. Responds to societal demands including topics not usually "mapped"
- Involves new research and development partnerships among academia, government, civil society and the private sector
- People use all of their senses in learning. Consequently, cybercartography creates representations which allow them to do this through cybercartographic atlases.
- People learn in different ways and prefer teaching and learning materials in different formats. Cybercartographic atlases provide people with a choice of learning styles or combinations of learning styles. The same information is presented in multiple formats.
- Effective teaching and learning takes place best when individuals are actively involved and engaged. The multimedia and interactive approaches used in cybercartographic atlases facilitate this.
- People need the power to create their own narratives, ie. the social computing revolution. The Cybercartographic Atlas Framework provides a mechanism for doing this which gives some structure and metadata indicating the quality and nature of the narratives that people create. The Framework is also open source and does not require special knowledge in order to create a narrative.
- Many topics of interest to society are very complex. There is no simple "right" or "wrong" answer to many questions such as global warming and climate change. To understand these complexities different ontologies or narratives on the same topic should be presented in ways that people can easily understand without privileging one over the other. Cybercartographic atlases do this. Of particular importance is giving voices to local people. They can speak for themselves rather than having others speak for them.
- There has been a shift from "map user" to "map creator" which establishes new forms of democratized teaching and learning. The Cybercartographic Atlas Framework helps to democratize mapping in new ways.
Proof of Concept
Exploring Sound Design in Cybercartography
S. Caquard (GCRC), G. Brauen (GCRC), B. Wright (ICSLAC) & P. Jasen (ICSLAC)
Objectives of this research:
(1) Explore the engaging and immersive dimension of sounds in cartography for educationnal purpose
(2) Apply theory from cinema to cybercartography
(3) Develop a sound map prototype of the exploration of Antarctica (see the figure and just imagine the music associated...)
Interactive 3D terrain model of the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica
Birgit A. Woods (GCRC)
U.S.G.S: Cheryl A Hallam for providing the McMurdo Dry Valleys LIDAR files. Birgit Woods: Creator of the 3D learning environment. Also used towards her M.Sc. Thesis Research. Wataru Watanabe: Industrial Design student who gave useful aesthetic advice.
The 3D terrain model of the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica was created to provide an interactive and engaging content module within the Cybercartographic Atlas of Antarctica from which students can learn about geomorphology - the study of the land surface characteristics.
By exploring the terrain, students learn about the unique environment of the Dry Valleys from glaciers and glacial lakes, to ventifacts (rock sculptures created by wind erosion), and mummified seals. There is a video playing within the model of a helicopter flying-through a labyrinth of melt-water erosion gullies, and there is a hidden element as well, where students follow the sound of running water to the only unfrozen saline pond of the Dry Valleys, thereby encouraging the notion of discovery through serendipitous exploration (Cartwright, 2004).
The 3D terrain was acquired by the U.S. Geological Survey. It consists of a 30m resolution elevation model derived from LIDAR remote sensing over the Dry Valleys and an imagery file at a resolution of 10m. Steps involved in creating the interactive model for students include: draping the imagery over the elevation file, and cropping the data to focus on a specific area of the Dry Valleys using ESRI ArcView. Using ESRI ArcScene, the 3D terrain was exported to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) which is a .wrl file, at a low resolution. This was done to improve performance for the end user. Three areas of high resolution were then added to the file as well as objects, signs, posters, and sound using Parallel Graphics VRML Pad.
To view the model the user needs to install a VRML plug-in of which there are many freely available. Parallel Graphics Cortona is a common VRML plug-in. Follow the link below to install it http://www.parallelgraphics.com/products/cortona/.
Designing Interactive Sound Maps Using Scalable Vector Graphics
Glenn Brauen (GCRC)
Other Research Work
Publications & Presentations
Taylor, D. R. F. (Ed.), (2013 in press) 2nd ed. of Cybercartography: Theory and Practice entitled Developments in the Theory and Practice of Cybercartography: Applications and Indigenous Mapping, Amsterdam: Elsevier
Taylor, D. R. F. (2005). (Ed.) Cybercartography: Theory and Practice. Vol. 4 in Modern Cartography Series. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 574 pgs.
Taylor, D. R. F. (2003). The Concept of Cybercartography in Peterson, M. (ed). Maps and the Internet, Cambridge: Elsevier, 403-418.
Papers & Presentations at Conferences
Taylor, D. R. F., 2011. Challenges for the Future of National Mapping Organizations. Presentation to the National Mapping Organizations-Industry Exchange Forum, Plenary Session, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, January 1
Taylor, D. R. F., 2011. The Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, Carleton University. Presented to Canadian Geomatics Science and Technology Partnering Seminar, Hyderabad, India, 19 January
Taylor, D. R. F., 2011, International Perspectives on Geographical Information Management, Inaugural session of Geospatial World Forum: Dimensions and Directions of Geospatial Industry, Hyderabad, India,January 18.
Taylor, D.R.F., 2010. Key Issues in the Management of Geographic Information: The International Perspective, Seminario Internacional: "Informacion geoespacial y tome de decisiones: actualidad y retos", CentroGEO, Mexico City, November 24-25.
Taylor, D. R. F., 2010. Access to and Interoperability of Geospatial Data. Presentation to CentroGEO and INEGI, Mexico City, January 20. CD-ROM.
Taylor, D.R.F., 2009. A Tool for Natural Disaster Mitigation for Asia and Pacific Regions, Presentation to United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, October, 26. E/CONF.100/IP.2, pp. 11.
Taylor, D. R. F., 2009. Global Mapping: A tool for natural disaster mitigation. United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for the Americas (UNRCC), New York, August 10-14. E/CONF.99/IP.7, 11 p.
Taylor, D. R. F. , 1997. Maps and Mapping in the Information Era, Keynote address to the 18th International Cartographic Association Conference, 12 June 1997, Stockholm, Sweden, Proceedings of ICC97, Volume 1 (Lars Ottoson, Ed). Gavle: Swedish Cartographic Society, 1-10.
Taylor, D. R. Fraser, 2010. Global Geographic Information Management: Some Institutional and Data Sharing Issues in Integrating Geographical and Statistical Data Presentation to the Second Preparatory Meeting of the Proposed United Nations Committee on Global Geographic Information Management New York, May 10-11.