Map-o-matix by Yves Degoyon / Sergio Moreno / Jaume Nualart and more
Map-o-matix is a collaborative environment for creating and editing maps, the maps can contain physical elements ( oils ressources, telecomunication antenas, ...) as well as abstract ones ( human organisations, web sites, rss, ... ) and relations between these entities. Behind this tool is the idea of editing and publishing tactical maps, maps that are not only physical but also the maps of [...]
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Beyond Psychogeography

There have been quite many collective mapping and psychogeographic tools developing in the past years; and some interesting issues here seem to be the following:
1. Usability. Will or not the people tools are addressed to be using them? Do the tools fulfill the users’ requirements? How to include all possible types of tags that correspond to various and sometimes very individual psycho-experiences the users might have?
2. Request-demand. Does the need for such tools exist at all? Collective mapping is very interesting conceptually and very appealing to work at, but is there any real need coming from the community?
3. Control and censorship. How to be sure the content is “free”? Is any moderation required? How to filter out the irrelevant, protect from vandalism and keep high quality level? (And, what the quality criteria would be?)
4. The source of geographical maps used – in case the system is based on existing maps.
5. Open source or proprietary, centralized or decentralized?
6. Redundancy issue: how to insure that the work started today will survive the hardware and software development of tomorrow?

In the context of software art two distinctive features of MapOMatix make it primarily interesting. Both features make the system much more open for use than the competing (or, should I say, developed in parallel) systems are.
Namely, it is the possibility of mapping (and creating) non-geographical spaces along with mapping geographical ones using the same tools. The second is the timeline option.
These additional features bring MapOMatix to a principally new level, potentially allowing for richer individual and collective story-telling and psychogeographic practices.
Map is an old and a very familiar paradigm of data visualization. Map is about distances between nodes and transport routes; it is about populated and empty areas, natural and human-made recourses. The concept of a map sits very deeply in our cultural memory and therefore is unavoidable when the demand for visualizing new types of data comes. MapOMatix has a good potential to develop in such a universal mapping tool helping people to not only navigate in, but also create subjective, artistic maps of all kinds of spaces. Perhaps, the long-awaited and always-eluding Map of the Internet will come true some day (see an early project http://map.jodi.org/)…
With its timeline option MapOMatix’ can be used as a story-telling tool of a new generation, where a story is represented by a sequence of tagged maps, each with its time-stamp. Do we witness birth of a new exciting artistic tool? If so – the MapOArtists will not make us wait for them for long.

Alexei Shulgin

by Olga Goriunova, posted 12 Feb 2006


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