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Photos from Where 2.0 2006

Session

Love in the Time of Cholera Maps: Mapping Communities from the Ground Up

Steven Johnson, Co-founder, Outside.in

Date: Tuesday, May 29
Time: 5:30pm - 6:00pm
Location: Imperial Ballroom

Beyond the immediate zone of our closest friends and family, the zone of experience that people generally have the most passionate feelings about-and the most extensive knowledge of--is the hyperlocal realm of neighborhoods and communities. But despite that interest, this local zone has been traditionally neglected by mainstream media and most local knowledge has been restricted to the limited chains of word-of-mouth. Placeblogging and the geo-spatial web are starting to correct that imbalance by amplifying the voices of local experts and bringing more voices into the conversation.

There is a long history of trying to use maps to represent and understand the knowledge trapped inside neighborhoods and communities, including the map at the center of Johnson's book, The Ghost Map, which tracked a terrible outbreak of cholera in 1854. In this talk, Johnson explores the history of community mapping, from John Snow's map of cholera to Johnson's new hyperlocal service, Outside.in, which is attempting to organize the geo-spatial web around neighborhoods.

Johnson will talk both about the promise of this emerging movement and about the limits of mapping itself. Real-world communities need tools to think spatially about the information around them--but they don't alwaysneed a map!