As our understanding of the world itself is socially constructed (Bodenhamer, p. 16) we are asked to think maps differently and adhere to the concept following which space is the platform for multiplicity (Bodenhamer, p. 13). I think here lays the challenge of continuing to use maps to display historical facts in a geographically accurate fashion while adding experiential cartography which allows observers to see these maps at their own speed, revealing different relationships between entities. This map can be synthesized as a map that relies on geographical accuracy (which conventionally applies to everyone) where we can add layers of relational and experiential cartography so as to create a realm where all the perspectives are particular and dependent upon experiences unique to an individual, a community, or a period of time (Bodenhamer, p. 16).
What if we try to create a map similar to the one just conceptualized that will not include actual cartographical visualizations of space? Or what if the space can be a variable so to reflect social and political constructions of places? I guess my questions are just reformulating Bodenhamer’s question: how do we as humanists make GIS do what it was not intended to do, namely, represent the world as culture and not simply locations? (p. 23) I think TheGulf/2000Project website is a good start to initially respond to these questions.
But, let’s imagine a map where geographical elements can be chosen by the observer so that each visualization is personal and entities (objects or facts represented on the map) adjust each time to the observer’s selection or to the observer’s interaction. Is it possible or will the curation of the items selected only result in a map that just displays an even more controlled series of content? I think it would be interesting to find a way to open maps to customization (for past events) or real time input (for current events). New technology can help with that. At the same time, I think it would be crucial to record observer’s interactions to be able to organize our argument afterwards. Maybe this is a different map altogether as it will not serve to display something we already know, but it will collect possible narratives we don’t know.