Frank Jacobs 's Coffee And Cannibals - The Weird Geography Of Autocomplete Maps

1848 Words Dec 1st, 2016 8 Pages
Frank Jacobs takes an unorthodox approach to quantifying the perceived political geography of Earth in his article “Coffee and Cannibals – the Weird Geography of Autocomplete Maps.” By examining a series of maps, ostensibly generated from Google’s search autocomplete, Jacobs attempts to provide readers with insight into the “mental maps” of different cultures. Before analyzing the article, it is important to first understand exactly what a mental map is in the context of political geography. Geographer D.C.D Pockcock defines a mental map as being “concerned with locational and special characteristics, the ‘whereness’ content, mental maps constitute the skeletal framework of the more rounded phenomenon of the image, some parts of which are clearly aspatial in nature.” Pockcock’s definition may be verbose, but it hits the nail on the head: mental maps are the intangible, abstract, preconceived notions that we form and associate with a place or title and its relationship in space. However, it is very difficult to communicate these mental maps to others because they are rooted in your past experiences, education, and the culture that you live in. Attempting share your mental map (thus prejudices and assumptions) would therefore require a very common identity or a robust sense of humor. This is why Jacobs asserts that the maps in the article “provide a statistically relevant glimpse into a huge reservoir of public opinion that before was only glimpsed anecdotally, in jokes,…

Related Documents