Maps as geomedial action spaces: considering the shift from logocentric to egocentric engagements

Pablo Abend, Francis Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This paper considers some significant questions in geography and cognate fields about the roles of maps in the information age. Most maps are now digital products, offering immersive environments for user involvement. The increasingly networked digital distribution of geographic information in consumer-orientated cartographic representations leads to substantial changes how people individually and collaboratively experience and produce space and place. This article focuses on the ongoing metamorphosis arising through geobrowsing, the media-based flexible production of geographic knowledge through interactive maps. Drawing on work in media studies influenced by the so-called spatial turn—the rediscovering of geography-related questions in the social sciences and humanities, after modernism’s claimed prioritization of time and history (Soja in Postmodern Geographies. The reassertion of space in critical social theory, London, 1989; Jameson in Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism, Duke University Press, Durham, 1991)—this paper develops a theoretical framework built on the dynamic networked geomedial action spaces concept to understand the changing roles of information age maps as imagined materialist spaces for the experience and production of space—ultimately a medial turn. Following this concept, maps change from offering static and non-interactive frames of geographic reference for the production of space and place and as geomedia support a veritable infinity of interactive and map-based activities. Geobrowsing facilitates some new modes of geographic interactions that move from logocentric engagements with static maps to egocentric dynamic interactions with code-based elements of geomedial action spaces. Google Earth and similar geomedia facilitate maps that become intrinsic to a growing number of social action spaces and alter the experience and production of space and place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Geobrowsing
  • Geomedia
  • Media studies
  • Neogeography
  • Online maps
  • Spatial turn
  • User interaction


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