Exposing the 'Second Text' of Maps of the Net
Dodge, Martin and Kitchin, Rob (2000) Exposing the 'Second Text' of Maps of the Net. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication , 5 (4). pp. 1-21. ISSN 1083-6101
Maps have long been recognized as important and powerful modes of visual communication. In this paper we examine critically maps which are being produced to represent and promote information and communication technologies and the use of cyberspace. Drawing on the approach of map deconstruction we attempt to read and expose the 'second text' of maps of the Net. As such, we examine in detail a number of maps that display, with varying degrees of subtlety, the ideological agendas of cyberboosterism and techno-utopianism of their creators. A critical reading of these maps is important because they are widely reproduced and consumed on the Internet, in business and governmental reports, and in the popular press, all too often without a detailed consideration of the deliberate and intended messages being communicated. As we illustrate, many of these maps not only promote certain ideological messages but are often also poor in terms of cartographic design, with many containing serious ecological fallacies. We restrict our analyses to maps at the global scale.
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