CCI lunchtime seminar: The cartographic plot: stories of coastal mapmakers and the digital spatial revolution; Sarah Hamylton, University of Woolongong
Dr Sarah Hamylton - Director, GeoQuest Institute University of Woolongong
Maps exert power. In this talk, I will tell the stories of some profound maps of the world’s coastlines, uncovering the intellectual, practical and political impact they have had in the world of conservation. Stories from the Pacific (Great Barrier Reef) and Indian Oceans (Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles) demonstrate how maps have shaped the way that we think about the natural world. Maps have helped us to answer the call to record and conserve. Maps have transformed our understanding of how humans can radically and catastrophically alter some of the last pristine ecosystems on earth. Latterly, maps have advanced our understanding of a changing planet. Collectively, these stories call for a reading of maps that extends beyond documents that lay out the distribution of the world’s phenomena to view them as critical sources of information acting within socio-politically constructed worlds. Such a reading is particularly important given recent technical advances in the collection of big data, including the use of automated techniques (e.g. machine learning) to interpret and share spatial information in a digital world that increasingly propagates in profound new ways the power of maps.