Cartographic Challenges: Movement, Participation, Risk

04/23/2009 11:00 am
04/24/2009 5:00 pm

The conference gravitates around three levels of reflections: movement, participation and risk.
They are the subjects, we have just considered above and that play a crucial role in the
contemporary world processes. We propose a non–exhaustive list of issues and approaches about each one, in order to start a debate:
1. Movement Cartography - This issue deals with the necessity to think about the way of
representing movement using topological metrics. Far from considering the most obvious and
common (denotative according semiotics) meaning - i. e. moving things and people, movement is
the conceptual category to think about in order to identify innovative analytical instruments to grasp the deep nature of globalization. In fact, by recovering its deeper sense (connotative, according to semiotics again), movement is today perceived in its highest meaning: generating source, energy able to assume a multiplicity of configurations, which are not possible to turn to a static form but, rather, are only definable in their own dynamism. Therefore, phenomena in current times have not to be represented in their final state but they should be investigated in their changing in progress, that is also their own goal. Then, in current times of “generalized mobility”, which constitutes the crucial aspect of our society, it is urgent wondering: what is the most appropriate cartographic system to represent movement? In urban context, is it possible to overcome the range between Euclidian representation and urban mass, determined by co-presence and interaction of a large number of social operators? And, even, is it possible to think about a way of a cartographic representation, assuming the influence of Earth curvature on movement at the global scale without vanishing it by using projections?
2. Participatory Mapping – This issue concerns the research of instruments to activate the
dialogue and the participation between different actors, involved in territorial planning: we point out governance as the field of experimentation of participatory cartographic systems, since it constitutes the moment where a multiplicity of actors take part in discussion in order to find shared interests and positions, to be considered in decision making. We intend analyzing the role of participatory mapping in pointing out identity values of landscape, as a stake in negotiation process, but also the development and the diffusion of Geographic Information Technologies thanks to the interactive processes promoted by the web - such as Public and Participatory GIS, and the last generation of «WikiGIS». Both support the processes of collective thinking and decision making and they also are understandable by non-expert people, that can be involved. Then, the question is: what kind of information grant the participation and what kind of multimedia systems are able to activate the sharing of interests and, then, promote consensus in decision making process? And also, is participatory mapping able to build a dialogue between actors belonging to different cultural scenarios?
3. Cartography of risk - This context concerns decision support systems (DSS) in order to
communicate the risk and face emergency in crisis situations. At this regards, we are going to face the subject of including the map, inside these situations, playing the role of symbolic operator able to act in such a decision making, characterized by urgency and criticality. Starting from Luhmann’s proposal to distinguish between risk and danger and assuming the different role that decision has inside each one, it is possible to face the issue of cartographic communication in determining social perception and impress upon the time dimension of the event, i. e. preventing and managing the emergency. In order to prevent damages and, then, to face dangers and future situations of criticality, we need to investigate: the connection between decision and risk - which considerably depends on techniques of process control, the resources to be managed and the identification of errors. Concerning emergency, we need to assume the huge complexity of causal processes, which happen at the same time, thinking about not only the information to put on the map but also about the contexts created by different actors, and, even, about the prevention of the event evolution. In fact, the different aspects of emergency must be considered: the conditions which generated it, the actors involved, its impact and consequences, the possible actions able to manage it, negotiations, decision making, the revision process able to consider its dynamics. All these issues raise a multiplicity of questions: how can the map communicate prevention and, then, how can it impress upon the social dimension of risk? Which role can we give it inside DSS? How can we introduce the time factor and forecast variables created by emergency?

Organization structure:
Length: 2 days
Place: Bergamo (Italy)
Languages: English and Italian
Conference web site :
Conference Secretary: Federica Burini:; Alessandra Ghisalberti:
The scientific committee will grant the participation to a limited number of participant only, after a
careful selection, according to the following schedule:
February 15th – deadline for abstracts and a short CV for asking to participate in the conference;
February 25th – publication on the conference web site of the final list of participants in the three parallel workshops.
Auditors can follow the conference works by sending their subscription by mail to the conference secretary within March the 30th.
The scientific results of the conference, after a careful selection and a thematic re-assemblage, will be published on the on-line journals Espace-Temps and CODATA Journal.
Furthermore, these papers will be collected in the first volume of the collection “Autrement dit: le
discours cartographique” published by L’Harmattan Paris.