Beyond MapQuest

I have to be honest; before the start of this fieldschool, the extent of my map use was limited to looking at my house on Google Earth and finding directions on MapQuest. I was aware of the many uses of mapping, but lets be real, I had no interest in studying cartography. Yet, this all changed when my eyes were opened to the world of maps, not strictly used for directions of tracking movements – psychogeography. Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviors of individuals”. Though I am no geographer, maps based on psychogeography could be deemed quite useful in the world of anthropology.

In my interpretation of Debord’s definition, these maps can extend to things such as political mapping for upcoming elections, historical migration through time, the spread and eradication of diseases, weather and climate change, subway routes, individuals in relation to the greater universe, and the list goes on and on.

Especially for my field of study (archeology), psychogeographic mapping could be an essential tool in visualizing past cities, cultures, migrations, even behaviors, in a way that could not be previously done. As my time in the fieldschool progresses, I see more and more the importance of digital technology for cultural heritage. The world we live in today thrives in technological circumstances, and since such visualizations are pioneering exhibits that would not be easily accessible to the public, it is pertinent to have these tools to be a step ahead from the competitive world of scholars.


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