• Hermeneutics and understanding
  • What does it mean to understand large numbers of texts, and what is the nature of expertise?
  • searching vs browsing
  • data as evidence, data as inspiration


  • Space & Place
  • The Work Maps Do: lying; presenting; creating
  • more JS
  • Google Maps Exercise (maybe)

Spatial Turn

  • Space and “place”
  • Space as historically constituted
  • What is “the History of a place?”

Questions for us

  • What does it mean to foreground spatial characteristics in a spatial history?
  • How do maps & media transform the kinds of stories we can tell

Looking at Whales

  • impressive data collection
  • arresting images
  • but conclusion is about pillage: not immediately apparent to the eye.

One version of the story

Lying with Maps

  • maps are rhetorical objects
  • use of shade, color, can be very misleading
  • same numbers can produce very different visualizations

birth rates


“Critical” Cartography

  • if maps “lie”, or, at least, if maps are arguments, then:
    • what relations of power do they reveal/participate in?
    • if we are aware of the “lying”, how can we work with it critically?

Maps Make Landscapes

  • U.S. Land Ordinance of 1785 establishes grid mappping method as national system
  • lots sold according to this method

Maps Reinscribe Power

  • “Home Owners Loan Corporations (HOLC) (1930’s)
    • US Federal Agency in New Deal
    • tasked with preventing foreclosures
    • ranked neighbourhoods by “desirability”
    • ancestor to contemporary maps used by real estate brokers

Mapping enrols State Power


…and technological power


Spatial History with Google Maps

Google Maps and Spatial History

  • use Google Maps to explore making geography central to historical explanation

Read this part! Follow the links!

Today’s exercise is also something of a test. We will be working in the markdown syntax (github flavour), and you will also be able to choose between

The latter version also serves as a reminder about the Github code-sharing platform. If you want to work locally, I strongly recommend both the Atom Code Editor, and Brackets; many people also like Sublime Text, though you ought to buy a license for Sublime if you continue to use it. Brackets and Atom both also show a live preview of your code, almost like JSBin (For Atom you will have to install the atom-html-preview package, while Brackets comes with a live preview in Chrome, which can be activated with ~Ctrl-Alt- you will get live updates of your code in a second tab, almost like in jsbin. See the documentation for more info.

What is a GIS?

  • all data is “geo-tagged” (has location info = latitude-longitude co-ords)
  • layered data (like photoshop)
    • “layering” a non-trivial taxonomic decision
  • managed by a database, often quite complex, sophisticated

Controlling Google Maps

  • we are interested in 2 layers: “basemap” and “marker layer”
  • we use Google Maps API to add markers to marker layer, generate map on web page
    • “load” Google Maps API (using a script tag)
    • instruct Google Maps to do what we want by *using methods of the google.maps object
    • API’s as Evocation
    • code may look complex, but you only need to change a few things

An API is an “Application Programming Interface”: a communications channel that lets programs talk to each other. By “loading” the Google Maps API, our web pages can communicate directly with Google’s servers to modify the map that Google is presenting to us. In fact, most of the interesting stuff happening on the web these days happens via these machine-to-machine communication channels. Cf. this helpful video or Wikipedia for more API info.

Using Markdown (refresher)

  • write your essay in Markdown, rather than HTMl (b/c so much easier)
  • HTML included in a markdown file will still render as HTML.
    • Use this when Markdown syntax is not complex enough for your needs
# one or more '#' marks indicates a headline

### this one is "level 3"

*a single asterisk is emphasis, or italics*

**two are strong, or bold**

An empty line separates paragraphs.

> blockquotes are made with angle brackets
> like this

While you’re coding, reflect on the satisfaction that good, honest work brings to the act of electronic communication.

The Exercise

  • let’s create a Google Map!

The code


  • modify lat/long co-ords of my_center.
  • modify content of marker objects
  • very little else needs to change


  • shouldn’t have to change much, though feel free to add


  • in your assignment, use css/extra-styles.css to make small changes to CSS
  • use a different Bootstrap theme to make bigger changes
  • read assignment notes to learn more about the frameworks this assignment leans on