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UK Geographers Featured in 'The Economist'

by Sarah Geegan

Associate professor of geography, Matthew Zook, was featured in two articles in The Economist, providing insight into the geoweb—particularly the practices surrounding user-generated data, such as geocoded tweets or other commentary.

The Economist article titled "The new local," argues that the physical and digital worlds are becoming increasingly intertwined through the use of high-speed internet and innovative technology.

The article references Zook's forthcoming paper, in which he, along with Mark Graham, a graduate of UK currently at the Oxford Internet Institute (part of the university) and Andrew Boulton, a UK Ph.D. candidate, explores how increased reliance on mobile devices accessing the geoweb influences the ways people view the physical realm and how they move through it.

>>To read this article, click here.

A second article, titled, " The world in your pocket," focuses on digital mapmaking, noting that these maps are limitless in regard to the information that can be attached to them.

In a recent paper, Zook and Graham measured the thickness of the geoweb, gauging the number of places (businesses, schools, parks and so on) with information attached to them in Google Maps. This allowed them to analyze the data from multiple different angles including language.

>>To read this article, click here.

Zook also serves as the director of Graduate Studies within the UK Department of Geography and is a founding member of the New Mappings Collaboratory, an interdisciplinary research project within the College of Arts and Sciences at UK. His research focuses on how code, space and place interact as people increasingly use mobile, digital technologies to navigate through their everyday experiences in the hybrid, digitally augmented places that cities are becoming.

His current work centers on the DOLLY (Data On Local Life and You) project which has been archiving and analyzing every geocoded tweet in the world since late 2011.
The FloatingSheep research blog provides an overview of his work, and information about the New Mappings Collaboratory is available at
>>Also, a recent artcile in the Herald-Leader on Zook's Floating Sheep blog - click here.