Geotagging Graffiti on Google Earth

by Matt on March 9, 2010

View Interactive Map

The launch of Google Earth Street View showcasing panoramic images of streets around the world has created many concerns for citizens. What if you are captured on camera and then put on Google Earth for all the world to see, and you don’t even know it? What exactly is being represented in this form of image mapping, and for whom? Should the capture of such images be considered as an infringement on citizen’s privacy rights?

This semester students in Intermedia 1 took a look at the digital representations of Montreal via the panoramic image found in Street View. Students were asked to consider the potential and limitations of the way streets are mapped on Google Earth. How is memory, movement, history, and the culture of a location captured or perhaps omitted from such representations? How might we insert new memories of old histories, or speak to personal and collective experiences embedded the streets of Montreal?

Students selected a location to research and then traveled to that same location to take their own photographs. Some students decided to use found photographs that depicted events that occurred in their site many years ago. Using Illustrator, students used the photograph as the template for creating a vector graphic image to geotag on Google Earth. The results can be seen as graffiti, a way of tagging the digital wall of Google Earth. The images are intended to present another way of viewing the streets of Montreal from the history of riots on Crescent Street to a performance by students that challenge the collection of images by the Google Earth van.

We are now in the process of making a print and ezine featuring articles about each geotagged image. This will be posted soon!

Thanks to Tim Sinnott and GreenInfo Network for technical support.

Previous post:

Next post: