Defining Deep Maps

Last Friday marked the conclusion of the intense two-week NEH institute, which focused on deep maps and spatial narratives. But what is a deep map? The participants provide the following definitions.

Lesley: A source archive united by place or space.  It is the anti-interface, but the deep content behind it. It is what enables the spatial narratives.

Johnathan: A way of experiencing a narrative through multiple kinds of content that leads to a well-developed sense of place.

Anouk: A collection of geo-referenced information which offers multiple perspectives on data which has some sort of relevance to place.

Cameron: I’m defining a deep map as a product (different from a deep mapping process). Deep map as product provides an entry point into a humanistic theme through the lens of place. It offers a wide variety of content (often multimedia) that allows for multiple experiences and interpretations (either temporal or spatial) of the same overarching theme.

Katie: A DM is the act of collecting and the collection of multi varied material and immaterial data/information/knowledge about a particular place (and the place(s) to which it has a relationship) by individuals and groups, etc, including what is believed, remembered, experienced, presumed, feared, desired, rumored (and “forgotten”), and the performing of those (by both users and place)

Don: Deep mapping is an epistemology for studying spatial patterns, processes, or phenomena through the integration of a wide-range of spatially and temporally enabled sources.

Deep map: A collection of interconnected and interrogatable evidential resources that support multiple views and dimensions of interrogation that provide open-ended affordances for enquiry, scholarship and research.
Deep Mapping: the process of constructing or using a deep map

Daniel: A methodology that allow us to combine multiple quantitative, qualitative and multimedia data about a space/place with the purpose of building a spatial narrative

Stuart: A remediation of a set of linked events and processes which require space in order to be meaningful, and which may or may not be discrete.

Mike: A digital worldscape that invites users to investigate and experience real and imagined renderings of places through time and space, with each individual use resulting in a unique spatial narrative that is part of a cumulative and interactive whole.

Mia: A deep map contains geolocated information from multiple sources that convey their source, contingency and context of creation; it is both integrated and queryable through indexes of time and space.

Scott: A deep map is a platform for expressing, exploring, and juxtaposing spatial narratives.

Sharon: an immersive platform for exploring data and information about a place to develop and test research hypotheses, grasp meaning, draw your own conclusions, and present your argument.

David: A dynamic virtual environment that allows users to identify and experience the reciprocal influences of , real and conceptual space on human culture and human events for the purpose of constructing spatial narratives and making spatial arguments.

John C: A depiction of place by means of a spatially-informed display of curated cultural artifacts

Deep Map: A spatially and temporally scaled, contingent, semantically rich, open-ended, integrative, multi-medic, representation that portrays the material, immaterial, and human world (and the meaning of life).

Spatial story: Weaves multiple reflexive pathways through a deep map with a specific goal and outcome in mind that tracks its own history and evolution.


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