, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 171–183 | Cite as

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

  • Pablo AbendEmail author
  • Francis Harvey


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.


Online maps Neogeography Media studies User interaction Geobrowsing Geomedia Spatial turn 


Compliance with ethics requirements

Conflict of interest

Dr. Pablo Abend declares that he has no conflict of interest. Prof. Dr. Francis Harvey declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Media Culture und TheatreUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute for Regional Geography and University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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