Monthly Archives: June 2010

Geotagger’s World Atlas – Tourists compared to Locals

The Geotagger´s World Atlas on flickr depicts the numbers of pictures taken at a certain location. They cluster around certain areas of interest in cities and are sometimes interpreted as maps of tourism. Locals and Tourists distinguishes between the pictures taken by locals and those taken by tourists. For some cities they reveal some interesting differences between the locals and the tourists pattern.

The data reflects in first place the amount of geotagging activity and indirectly the participation in flickr it can also give a clue to what extend a city is touristy. Las Vegas for instance shows a lot of red areas while Kansas City is mostly blue at a general lower number of geotagged images. This way as a tourists one might get hints to places that are popular by locals but not yet overrun by tourists.

Blue stands for locals, red for tourists, yellow might be by either.


San Francisco



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Are thematic maps objective?

I recently came back from the 58th German Cartographer’s Conference in Berlin. A highlight was a speach given by the French cartographer Philippe Rekacewicz who is working for the United Nations Environment Programme and the French newspaper Monde Diplomatique that is translated in many languages. The title of his speach was “Drawing the world: cartography between science, art and manipulation”. Rekacewicz indeed has returned to drawing the world on paper with pencil for the sake of not being limited by the visualization capabilities that a digital system offers. Using this basic way of visualisation the emotion comes into his work as it is the case in a handmade piece of art. This way the work is of course subjective as Rekacewicz states – it reflects the cartographer’s view on the world or how he would like to visualize it making maps a possible tool for manipulation. However the maps he shows are based on real data making them a part of the scientific domain as well.

Many of Rekacewicz’s work can be found in the Atlas on Globalisation from Monde Diplomatique. Unfortunately it is only available in French and German. Some people critisize it for not being neutral. But being neutral was probably not the intention. As said before a map is just one point of view. We cartographers are would-be emperors we draw borders and move mountains when we desire.

Below is a map from Monde Diplomatique that I find very impressing. It shows the European measures to seal itself off from immigrants. It is probably based on one of the typical pencil sketches by Rekacewicz that I added for comparison. The sketch reflects some of the author’s anger when producing that map. The Schengen-border is drawn as a (bloody) red line including number of deaths through attempts of crossing the border. More on the topic can be found here.

Visions cartographiques - Les blogs du Diplo 2006

I was able to find a video of an earlier speech by Philippe Rekacewicz on the web:

6(0) ways… – Electric Palm Tree from archis on Vimeo.

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Filed under Cartographic principles, Humanitarian