The More Features, The More Users

The mapping occurring within Al Gore’s Digital Earth project in the article by Lisa Parks “Satellite and Cyber Visualities: Analyzing ‘Digital Earth”, is that of space and time. It fuses the ideas of cartography/science and Stephen Mamber’s narrative mapping. Mamber describes narrative mapping as the presentation of events as they unfolded over time.  Parks argues that the fusion of science and this idea of narrative mapping can improve Digital Earth because it would appeal to the masses. Frankly, I agree with Parks. The more features technology offers, it seems, the more people will use it. Evidence for this theory can be found in Simanowski’s article “Digital Art and Meaning: Reading Kinetic Poetry, Text Machines, Mapping Art, and Interactive Installations”. Simanowski talks about the shift digital media has taken from qualitative data information to art. It reminds me of the PC vs. Apple favoritism. Macs have gained the reputation of being the more artistic computer because of their standard features that allow users to take photos, mix music, and cut video. In addition to all of these features that are easy to use, PC functions are possible such as Word Processing. Macs are gaining popularity, and PCs have been trying to offer similar features to keep their products desirable. Tying this example back to Parks’ argument, if Digital Earth targeted culture, as well as the science of Earth, than it will “erode the science/culture divide” (Parks 280). If Digital Earth used narrative mapping, it could become a virtual database of the Earth, fusing representations of historic cultural events and environmental science changes. It could be an interactive digital textbook for the World!