Monday, March 26, 2012

Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: Exploring the Geo-linguistic Contours of the Web

I've just had a paper accepted to Environment and Planning A (Augmented Realities and Uneven Geographies: Exploring the Geo-linguistic Contours of the Web). The paper (co-authored with Matt Zook) is concerned with the ways in which augmented inclusions and exclusions, visiblilities and invisibilities will shape the way that places become defined, imagined, and experienced.

The maps above are all taken from an earlier draft of the paper. They visualise the layers of information indexed by Google and segment the data by language in order to map some of the geo-linguistic contours of the Web. Have a glance through the paper, and let us know if you have any comments or questions. The publication date of the full paper should be some time in early 2013.


traintalk said...

I find your conclusions here and elsewhere less certain if methodologically some languages and particularly Arabic are not well-indexed or very partially ('muslim' from the linked paper) and apparently not linguistically "coded" by finding and using comparable, if different, terms in the sampling.

Some of this is Google-centric in terms of what is possible given that much of the data comes from them.

However, I would expect you to qualify further the accuracy or significance of your conclusions based on that data, particularly when some examples used in Geographies of the World's Knowledge are from 2009, in light of probable technical Google changes as well as changes at least with respect to possible catalyzing events in the populations and geographies you are observing.

Mark Graham said...

Thanks for your comment.

In fact everything in this paper is Google-centric. The whole paper is devoted to mapping Google. The point is (in this paper) therefore not to get a full sense of what is on the Web, but rather to map what Google knows about our world (or at least how Google represents our world). It is also important to point out some of the limitations to the approach we adopted to mapping Google (see the paper for more detail/caveats in this area).