Entering a Risky Territory: Space in the Age of Digital Navigation

Citation: Camacho-Hubner, Eduardo. November, Valerie and Bruno Latour. “Entering a risky territory: space in the age of digital navigation”. Environment and Planning Society and Space 28 (2010):  581-599. Web.

Summary: Geography should embrace a map design that moves beyond base features of space to make available dynamic dimensions of risk (feedback, anticipation, reflexivity, participation) in the navigational dimension made possible by digital technologies.

Key Words:

  • risk geography
  • mimetic v. navigation
  • multiverse
  • base map
  • salto mortale / deambulation
  • res extensa / res ogitans / res imaginans
  • close resemblance

Passages to Keep:

“Is a map, as Pickles (2004) points out, not a representation of the world but an inscription that does (or sometimes does not) work in the world?” (582).

“It is much safer to fumble from one signpost to the next than attempt to jump daringly from words to world or from maps to territory” (589).

“And there is no question that a large part of what we usually mean by `physical’ is an imaginary virtual world born out of intellectual technologies of which the map is arguably the most impressive.
The point we make, instead, is that mountain, rivers, valleys, capes, and pro-montories do not sit well in this Euclidian space either. If you do not know where to put the `humans’ on the map, you should be just as concerned about what to do with the nonhumans. No one and no thing ever resided in the virtual image of the map” (595).

Accepted Claim: “It does not require a great deal of attention to notice that in both cases the world drawn by Galilean objects moving in Euclidian space furiously resemble a world drawn on paper according to the precise rules of geometry, perspective, and later projective geometry. What Descartes called the res extensa, the material stuff out of which the real world is supposed to be made, has the puzzling characteristic of resembling closely what can be drawn and also calculated on paper” (591).

Claim of Some Doubt: “Do maps and mapping precede the territory they `represent’, or can they be understood as producing it?” (582)

3 Sources to Aid with Reading: W James A Pluralistic Universe, J May and N Thrift TimeSpace: Geographies of Temporality, and M Monmonier “Cartography: the multidisciplinary pluralism of cartographic art, geospatial technology, and empirical scholarship” (of interest in rich reference section).

One thought on “Entering a Risky Territory: Space in the Age of Digital Navigation

  1. Pingback: Visual Rhetorics Portfolio | page tectonics

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