Mediated Geographies of Everyday Life (2017)

Full title: Mediated Geographies of Everyday Life: Navigating the Ambient, Augmented and Algorithmic Geographies of Geomedia

Peta Mitchell and Tim Highfield, ctrl-z.


Over the past two decades, geospatial technologies have increasingly and profoundly influenced how everyday users conceive the space around them and how they navigate their ever-converging physical and virtual environments. These geospatial technologies have become both ubiquitous and mundane, and can be seen embodied in the GPS-enabled smartphone with its fully integrated location-based services. What we have witnessed, since around the year 2000, is, in effect, a digital spatial turn to rival if not eclipse the spatial turn identified by Fredric Jameson and Ed Soja in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This digital spatial turn is the result of the convergence or entwined emergence of a number of technologies or technological affordances. At its centre is the advent of ubiquitous locative media, locative devices, and location-based services, but also critical are the related development of the geospatial web in the mid-2000s. Going hand-in-hand with and underpinning this new spatial turn is an exponential growth of spatial information—information that users of digital media are increasingly producing or volunteering, whether actively (e.g., through geotagging social media content or participating in geographic-information based crowdsourcing) or passively or unconsciously (e.g., location information gathered via urban wireless sensor networks or public transport smartcards).

As both users and producers of this burgeoning geocultural or socio-spatial form of data, citizens are also, as never before, engaged in complex ways with the geospatial. The entangled relationships between everyday users of mobile, locative media, and these large, often live, geodata sets pose new questions such as how and why everyday users use and produce spatial information; how their engagement with geomedia and geodata might change their perceptions of the space around them; and, increasingly, how those perceptions are being shaped and determined by, through, and with digital media. In this paper, we provide an overview of the near pre-history of what we are referring to as the digital spatial turn before turning our focus to the increasingly ambient, augmented, and algorithmic nature of our engagement with geomedia.

Online, open access

Citation: Mitchell, P. & Highfield, T. (2017). ‘Mediated geographies of everyday life: Navigating the ambient, augmented, and algorithmic geographies of geomedia’. ctrl+z.