[ISHMap-List] The history of cartography on mobile apps and in social media

Tony Campbell tonycampbellockendon at gmail.com
Wed Jun 4 16:25:23 CEST 2014

The recent announcement that the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman 
World is available as an iPad app (for $19.99 / £13.99) prompts me to 
ask whether it might be useful, or feasible, to try to bring together in 
one place references to new electronic resources for the history of 
cartography devised for mobile devices on the one hand, and news of 
fresh research circulating within social media on the other.

I have been attempting to identify access points to the equivalent 
resources over the past seventeen years for the benefit of those sitting 
in front of a computer screen but realise that that is now only part of 
the story.  I do not use a mobile phone and nor do I participate in 
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.  Nor, even though I use about 
60 Google Alert terms to keep me posted about the latest news, do I 
necessarily pick up all the relevant blog postings. This means that I 
can neither appreciate just how much of genuine value I may be missing 
nor could I be the person to try to pull together this disparate 
information into one or more indexes, or guides.

Perhaps there is no point. Unless you are signed up for that particular 
social site or have that make of phone I imagine you would not be able 
to access any organised directory or index that might already exist. But 
even if I joined Facebook how easy would it be to find the information 
that was relevant for me?  And would the same apply to Twitter, and the 
others, with each needing to be accessed separately? Even if very 
precise terms could be searched for, do any have adequate subject indexes?

I imagine there are others who do not want to have to join a social 
media site to find out whether it would be worth their while. Maybe the 
enthusiasts among you can explain why we really should get involved.

If those resources (whether free or not) are available /only/ on one (or 
perhaps a few) of the different sites and platforms, does it mean that, 
in terms of the potential sharing of information, we have already 
entered a divided world? Split, first, between those who use written 
sources and those who depend on electronic access, then, second, between 
those who use a p.c., a tablet or a mobile phone to communicate or 
obtain information, and, third, between those who have signed up to one 
or more of the social media and those who depend on an app, freely 
supplied or bought from one or other of the competing mobile providers.

Is there a way through this apparent jungle for somebody who wants to be 
able to keep up with news of all the significant developments in their 
sub-field of the history of cartography or who would like to be able to 
trace electronically-held information relating to their research, 
wherever that might be found?

Is this an appropriate topic for debate, or can somebody correct my 
outsider's pessimistic (and probably ill-informed) analysis? Perhaps 
mechanisms /do already/ exist to provide the kind of one-stop-shop for 
links to information circulating in the mobile and social media 
environments that might parallel what I have been trying to do on 'Map 
History' for the computer environment.

And, if it is concluded that this is both a sensible and a practical 
suggestion, who would like to volunteer to investigate it further?   If 
anybody was able to produce a guide or index to such resources for the 
history of cartography I would be delighted to link to it prominently 
from 'Map History'.  This already has a list of significant 'Companion 
Sites' (http://www.maphistory.info/sitemap.html#companion), supporting 
its claim to be the 'gateway' site for the subject as a whole.

Tony Campbell

tony at tonycampbell.info <mailto:tony at tonycampbell.info>

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