Friday, 3 October 2008

Data visualisation: GIS & ubiquitous mapping as key components of network culture

Derridata, we were talking recently about data visualisation tools in the context of information management, and it got me wondering about the kind of distributed forms of agency these managers might find themselves privvy to as we lose the sense of such environments as "containers". I had some of these thoughts during my prac, when I was in the basement going through the older stuff taken off the shelves, and I came across a very impressive study of arcologies, and wondered if libraries would ever take shape along these lines to minimise their environmental footprint? Or would the information managers be networking (i.e. distributed) in a range of environments, using these sophisticated tools to assist geographers, biologists etc? (the other articles listed in this piece are also definitely worth reading).

I suspect it will eventually be a combination of each, but I was particularly excited by the designs for the New Library of Alexandria, in addition to the world's first underwater museum in Egypt (be sure to check out the photos). I was also quite taken by this piece on the implications for livestock management, along with "virtual archaeology", and"genetic geography". This also caught my attention, as I couldn't help pondering some military implications of distributed agency, beyond the more theoretically familiar abstract cartography of Deleuzian style "war machines": With enhanced emergency medicine, many soldiers are coming home from war with grievous injuries instead of being killed. Innovation in arm and hand prostheses has been slow because the market for the devices is small and development costs are high. The Open Prosthetics Project (OPP) has applied the “open source” model—long used in developing “community-based” software—to the design of inexpensive prosthetic hands and arms that a small demand can still support. The designs are free for anyone to use.

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