The Geospatial Revolution

(Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.)

Just as in the original Renaissance, our world has gone map-crazy. But instead of simply marking off territory as national or corporate property, the maps of our era are as much about interrelationships and abstraction as place and territory. The Penn State GeoSpatial Revolution Project explores the way "the location of anything is becoming everything."

There are some great opportunities here for cyber-cartographers and others to share and explore technologies and applications, and to extend both mapping and what is thought of as mapping.

There's a great trailer on the site. If nothing else, this is a good way to introduce people to what it is we mean by "geospatial" or even "mapping" these days.

We live in the Global Location Age. “Where am I?” is being replaced by, “Where am I in relation to everything else?”

Penn State Public Broadcasting is developing the Geospatial Revolution Project, an integrated public media and outreach initiative about the world of digital mapping and how it is changing the way we think, behave, and interact.

The project will feature a web-based serial release of eight video episodes–each telling an intriguing geospatial story. Overarching themes woven throughout the episodes will tie them together, and the episodes will culminate in a 60-minute documentary. The project also will include an outreach initiative in collaboration with our educational partners, a chaptered program DVD, and downloadable outreach materials.


  1. GIS is incredibly useful, more so than most realize. A few open source resources to pique your interest.

    Grass GIS
    A a free, open source geographical information system (GIS) capable of handling raster, topological vector, image processing, and graphic data.

    Open Street Map
    OpenStreetMap a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world.

    is an Open Source platform for publishing spatial data and interactive mapping applications to the web.

    There are lots others, but these are the first that came to mind.

  2. I like to play a game where I set Google maps to satellite imagery without labels, zoom out as far as I can go, and try to zoom in to various personal, cultural, or geographical landmarks using only geographical cues to orient myself. It’s fairly difficult, for instance, to find the places I lived 2005-07 using mostly the hydrology of New England as a guide.
    I’m sure other people do this too, there’s something really gratifying about locating things relative to the planet in this way.

  3. As I move around I can see app after app of this. Might be out there (I’m BB, not iphone), but kuve traffic data is an evident application – thousands of users updating the traffic situation in their location.

  4. Stuff like this is why I’m training to do GIS. That and a history degree is worthless for getting a job.

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