Abstract - The Information Society 26(2)

GIS, Ethnography and Cultural Research: Putting Maps Back Into Ethnographic Mapping

Chris Brennan-Horley, Susan Luckman, Chris Gibson, and Julie Willoughby-Smith

This paper discusses how Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies were used to enhance ethnographic methodologies within a cultural research project – Creative Tropical City: Mapping Darwin’s Creative Industries. It shows how mapping technologies can broaden the scope of data available via interview practices, and produce innovative ways of communicating research results to stakeholder communities. A key component of the interview process was a ‘mental mapping’ exercise whereby interviewees drew sketches, revealing important sites and linkages between people and places. A GIS linked responses to real world locations, collating and displaying them in meaningful ways. Responses uncovered Darwin’s unique geography of creative inspiration – a geography that preferences Darwin’s natural environment over sites of urban creative milieu.


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