Maps are everywhere these days. The ubiquity of global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile directional devices, interactive mapping tools and social networks is feeding a mapping boom. Amateur geographers are assigning coordinates to everything they can get their hands on-and many things they can't "Locative artists" are attaching virtual installations to specific locales, generating imaginary landscapes brought vividly to life in William Gibson's latest novel, Spook Country. Indeed, proponents of "augmented reality" suggest that soon our current reality will be one of many "layers" of information available to us as we stroll down the street.Credit former President Bill Clinton for kicking this all off. In May 2000, he signed an executive order removing "selective availability" from the government's GPS transmission, a protocol that introduced errors into coordinates transmitted to receivers not approved by the military. But it's [Google] that has powered the amateur mapmaker craze, by allowing "mashups" between the maps it provides and other data sets."I'm a home-grown cartographer? artist Nina Katchadourian told [Sha Sha Feng] in one interview. "If my paying attention to something creates a situation where someone else suddenly pays attention to something and that makes things a little active and interesting for them, then I'm happy." Katchadourian's work remixes printed maps in tactile ways that reveal a more subjective experience of geography-such as Coastal Merger, a map that glues East Coast to West Coast to reflect the artist's bicoastal life experience.
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