2007 volume 34(3) pages 466 – 482

Cite as:
Zook M A, Graham M, 2007, "Mapping DigiPlace: geocoded Internet data and the representation of place" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 34(3) 466 – 482

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Mapping DigiPlace: geocoded Internet data and the representation of place

Matthew A Zook, Mark Graham

Received 29 January 2006; in revised form 11 September 2006

Abstract. The recent development of web-based services that combine spatial coordinates and indexes of online material allows any web user to conduct geographically referenced Internet searches. In this paper we characterize the resulting hybrid space as DigiPlace—that is, the use of information ranked and mapped in cyberspace to navigate and understand physical places. We review relevant theories of hybrid combinations of physical and virtual space, how software (code) automatically produces space, and how the politics of code (particularly map generating code) shape the representation of places. The paper concludes with a case study of the DigiPlace created by GoogleMaps that utilizes the same code which powers Google’s index of cyberspace. A central argument advanced by the case study concerns how the interactions between culture, code, information, and place construct DigiPlace and shade perceptions of the places that are mapped.

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