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Theses and Dissertations

The way we move: rethinking city spaces with user-generated data Open Access


Other title
digital mapping
space and place
locative media
gps tracking
spatial narrative
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Yu, Joyce
Supervisor and department
Engel, Maureen (English/Humanities Computing)
Examining committee member and department
Quamen, Harvey (English/Humanities Computing)
Gouglas, Sean (History/Humanities Computing)
Humanities Computing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Since the inception of Google Maps in 2005, there has been plenty of discussion about how this type of mapping technology has changed the way individuals orient themselves and whether or not the use of technology like Google Maps changes the way we see the world. In short, it has. However, digital mapping technology is the latest iteration of how mapping has changed. The use of technology does not diminish the personal experiences that we have in the city. Instead, we are now able to study the GPS data that individuals plot in the city. This allows for a data set that reveals different layers of the city, particularly how we move through them. This research uses running routes collected from Mapmyrun. The user-generated data creates a map that informs place and changes the structure of the city. This user study examines the shift in cartography toward a decentralized model where many mapmakers recreate the city map by using their mobile devices to track the pathways that they deem worthwhile. This study follows the traditions of mapping found in psychogeography and mental mapping, along with Michel de Certeau’s definition of tactics and strategies, guide my discussion on how runners create meaningful place. This thesis aims to illustrate how data provided by digital mapping technology revealed different layers of the city. Digital apps are changing how we’re making meaning of our space by providing different value sets for us to interpret. The creation of place is personal. My analysis on Mapmyrun contributes to the discussion of creating place in a digital space.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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