Cartography & Narratives at ETH Zurich, Switzerland
GPS drawing workshop at Science City ETH Hönggerberg 16:30-19:00 June 12th 2012
An introduction into the act of GPS drawing and mapping conducted by Jeremy Wood
A collaborative map was made in two hours with data from 19 GPS receivers that recorded 74.7 km (46.4 miles) of tracks under pure Swiss drizzle.
GPS drawing is about the movement of the body and the experience of 1:1 scale mapping.
It’s a process that can create a quality of line that might be straight and smooth through one place and be complex and intricate in another.
It can form a density of travel by hatching and crosshatching much like one can do with a pencil.
The rain had eased to a light drizzle.
Some participants used the opportunity to let their curiosity to guide them around unseen parts of the campus,
others chose to engage in some methodical meandering to repeatedly plough over open spaces,
and there were a few who decided upon a graphic pictorial approach.
Within each track is a story.
The workshop wasn’t really about the compilation of a finished map.
It was an opportunity to engage in the act and experience of making a map with ourselves as the pencil.
Everyone brought a different motive and approach that on the day created unique tracks from individual experiences.
Whilst a personal cartography may be tricky to interpret without context or explanation,
the qualities of line can cause us to consider how we negotiate the spaces around our bodies.
The GPS drawings were of a bicycle made around the area for parked cycles, a shape of a heart, and a charming flower.
Then there was ‘Carto’ written in the long wet grass that at times was uncomfortably close to a shooting range,
and the letters ‘Bürgenstock in Bond’ referring to the place and maps that featured in the 1964 movie Goldfinger.
CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS
Oh Yea... Oh Yea! Bombarded with too much technical jargon and incomprehensible theory? Have you uncontrollably erupted with new ideas? Got muddled notes? Forgot you were bipedal? Take action and walk it off with some GPS drawing and mapmaking.
Let’s make a collaborative map of a place we’ve all travelled so far to get to and document our experiences along the way. Travel is narrative. We begin by leaving a place, we then give structure through navigational decisions that shape our experiences, and ultimately the act of journey comes to an end. This story will be built from collective drawings with GPS and seeing what can be revealed from the combined results.
Personal cartography with guerrilla map making
Setting off in groups of two there will be one GPS receiver and one camera per group. The aim is to document our meandering tracks over the campus with billions of dollars of war technology and record an expression of our explorations of place with pocket video cameras. One holds the GPS and decides where to go and the other films the activity. Swap duties as and when you like. Act like a geodesic mark maker by choosing collision points and bouncing off physical obstructions. Go to the boundaries and seek the perimeters of traversable space. Find out what’s at the permissible edge and steer away from the pre-designed flow. Don’t go where the paved paths lead you, step off and go perpendicular. Even the short-cut ruts in the grass are well pounded trenches.
The 'Cartography and Narratives' workshop was organized by the Commission on Art and Cartography of the International Cartographic Association (ICA),
in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation and Concordia University (Montreal).
It took place from June 11th to 13th, 2012 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Anne-Kathrin Reuschel, Sébastien Caquard
“Story maps”, “fictional cartography”, “narrative atlas” and “geospatial storytelling” are some of the terms that characterize the growing interest in the relationship between maps and narratives. Building upon the extensive work on literary geography, and on cartographic cinema a range of scholars in the humanities have endorsed mapping as a conceptual framework to improve our understating of narratives. Meanwhile, geographers and cartographers have recognized the importance of mapping personal stories and vernacular knowledge in order to better understand their contribution to the production of places. This workshop aims to bring together artists, scholars and students from cartography, geography, the humanities and the arts interested in exploring further the relationships between maps and narratives.
jeremy wood 2012