Jump to content

 
Photo

Carto's and geo's thoughts on future?

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1
benbakelaar

benbakelaar

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 658 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Brunswick, NJ
  • Interests:maps, information, technology, scripting, computers
  • United States

This post is about terrorism, national boundaries, and the future.

I am interested in people's responses/reactions to this short article posted on Wired.com. As we all know, our fields (geography, cartography, environmental science, etc.) are becoming much more central to a globalized society trying to "end" terrorism. Mapping and location-based technologies are the new "hot" job/trend/product/panacea, and will be for the next 5 years at least, if not 10.

http://www.wired.com...posts.html?pg=6

[DISCLAIMER]
For the record, I am not interested in creating a flamewar or a heated debate with personal attacks. :) In the unfortunate case that this thread degenerates to that, I will not hesitate to delete it. Not to be an admin control freak... I just think cartotalk.com isn't really the place to debate terrorism. But I can't think of a better place to solicit reactions to this article.

#2
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

Twelve years ago, at the Silver Spring conference, the NACIS banquet speaker addressed the end of the modern nation-state. It's been on my mind ever since.

Even as traditional European nation-states federate into something new, places such as Scotland and Catalunya and Taiwan gain recognition as distinct places with autonomy. The shifting alliances of terrorist groups, acting with or without the assent of the nation-state that supposedly "controls" them, complicate the picture even more.

We tend to forget what a recent and tenuous development was the nation-state, with a single government/currency/language and army to enforce it all. It was a tidy way to categorize the world, but often at odds with the reality on the ground. One need only look at the arbitrary 20th century divisions of the Mideast or Africa to see the problem of neatly defined boundaries in a tribal world.

When tribes were geographically distinct, this untidiness resulted in occasional territorial disputes. When tribes are defined by economic, cultural, or religious distinctions, the geography can get very messy, and the battles to "cleanse" territory of nonbelievers can be bitter. Even here in the center of one of the world's most stable nation-states, it's clear to me that I have more in common with educated social democrats in Northern Europe or Australia or Japan than I have in common with the hard-line Cubans of Miami's Little Havana or the fundamentalist Baptists of West Virginia. Luckily none of those disagreements are likely to come to hatred, much less violence. But if some issue did divide us deeply, what tribe would I fight with?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#3
benbakelaar

benbakelaar

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 658 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Brunswick, NJ
  • Interests:maps, information, technology, scripting, computers
  • United States

Twelve years ago, at the Silver Spring conference, the NACIS banquet speaker addressed the end of the modern nation-state.  It's been on my mind ever since.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Dennis, you got straight to the core of the issue. On a larger scale, it's not about terrorism but the tenuous existence of the nation state. Although I haven't ever fully read the book, I believe Francis Fukuyama's "The End of History" may have dealt somewhat with this issue... from a 1992 perspective. Another book I remember reading which really inspired me (the book's concept, not it's writing) was The Rise of The Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century by Richard Rosecrance. Link to Google Books

Anyway, before I de-rail this conversation (jeez and only after one post! :o ) , I'm still really interested in hearing people's reactions to the article that is linked in the first post!

#4
Kartograph

Kartograph

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 319 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Berlin, Deutschland
  • Germany

When I did work for the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), the problem of zones of control and habitation arose. Just think about it:

How?d you map or even worse catalogize in a Geodataset the geometries of tribes, nomadic people, refugees or any other relatively small aggregation of people? There are answers, but unsatisfactory ones so far.

Failed states and their (civil) wars lead to more people migrating from here to there. If anyone wants to influence these situations, you have to gather, analyze and present this data. A lot of designwork and programming has still to be done in this area.

#5
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,299 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

My office actually has had map workshops to map perceptions of (transboundary) environment & security issues among major stakeholders. We have had these in the Caucausus, for instance. You get a bunch of people in a room, and let them draw where they think conflict issues are on a blank map. Those maps later get synthesized and cleaned up to one main map, for continuing discussion. (this is through a UNEP/UNDP/OSCE/NATO initiative on environment and security)
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#6
MapMedia

MapMedia

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,029 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Davis, California
  • United States

Well..not to make much of a comment on Wired (horribly anti-environment bias), but the issue
reminds me of wildlife habitat / population analysis and mapping, where populations of a migrating mammal change over time, so no distict boundaries, but require a central intact habitat in which to live. (simplifying) Connecting these 'core areas' are the migration routes (terrestrial, aerial, aquatic) that are used for various purposes (seasonal habitat shift, new territory, etc. etc.)

There is a similarity in the nature of representing 'habitat' and unique populations/ethnic groups/nationalities whose geographic identify shifts in time and space.

While a myoptic view sees population flux (jets and nets), the true reality is that most people in this world have neither access to jets or nets, and, as history shows, prefer geographic stability and tranquility for survival (i.e. raising families).

#7
Pete Y.

Pete Y.

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Location:San Bernardino, CA
  • United States

The premise breaks down here, though:

He describes a world so ripped up by nets and jets that sovereign nation-states like the UK are collapsing economically, politically, even physically.



What does it mean to be "ripped up" by nets and jets? Do advances in technology and transportation necessarily spell the end of nation-states? And does "collapse" denote a true Roman Empire-style meltdown, or just the weakening of central authority? The latter could be a positive development.

The author seems to be wallowing in his own imagined prescience. And he strikes a bizarre note of Armageddon in the last sentence. We should be able to count on the digital generation to be free from mystical hysteria like that.

#8
MapMedia

MapMedia

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,029 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Davis, California
  • United States

Maybe this guy needs is a nets-and-jets map of the world. That would really send his hysteria meter into TILT mode.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->