Cristina MOSCONI | Fabrizio NEVOLA, UK | May 14, 2018 | 10 am

What does GIS mean for historians? How do archaeologists use GPS? What are the immediate benefits of these technologies, and what could be their greatest limitations?

(© Fabrizio Nevola)

It has been a while since so called ‘locative media’ were adopted within humanities disciplines. Scholars are now increasingly using GIS metadata for compiling large databases and GPS pinpoints now frequently populate historical maps. Yet, a full appreciation of the potential of these technologies is still to be acknowledged, and more often than not locative media are criticised by detractors as ‘fancy’ commercial strategies. While, some locative projects are indeed designed for wider public consumption, a wealth of academic experiments with these media are born from research-led processes which combine research and educational purposes with public engagement. Let’s look as an example at the Hidden Florence app. Created by University of Exeter, the app takes you on a unique tour of the Renaissance city through the eyes of a ‘contemporary’ guide, a 1490’s wool worker called Giovanni. Following in Giovanni’s footsteps users can engage imaginatively with Renaissance Florence as a lived experience. Moreover, user can choose to navigate the city using a 16th century map which adds an extra layer of immersion into the past fabric of the city. Essentially, the Hidden Florence app connects people to the modern and historical layers of the city, entertaining them whilst not neglecting the historical research underpinning the project.

(© Fabrizio Nevola)

Hence the idea for our session.
What we would like to see are reflections on how locative media help us to deliver place-based visualisation of tangible (e.g. texts, books, images, objects and performances) and intangible heritage. We’d love to hear about locative projects you helped to create or enjoyed experiencing.
But we also would like to look at the bigger picture behind these projects. GIS and GPS are factors within a broader scholarly process of how research topics are inspired and shaped by designing a locative application.
Our goal for this session is to start a conversation about how locative media are shaping research questions and indeed the research practices of academic researchers.

We look forward to see you at Visual Heritage 2018!

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