Calls for papers for the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (April 5-9, 2017 in Boston, MA) have been circulating online and there are a bunch of them! I’m happy to see a number of sessions focus on software, technology, and/or digital objects in a number of different contexts. I have listed all of the ones I know of below. Please let me know if I have missed any and I will add more as I come across them.

Click on the title for the full call:

digital \\ human \\ labour
“this call is for papers exploring specifically the various intersections of ‘digital’, ‘human’ and ‘labour’.”

Urban-economic perspectives on technology
“In this session we seek to bring together papers focussed on the topics of urban and economic geography that take up critical perspectives on technology.”

Cities & Data Beyond Smart Urbanism
“We… invite empirical and theoretical contributions that conceptualize and/or extend current perspectives on the co-articulation of data and cities beyond narratives of smart urbanism.”

Real Estate Technologies: Genealogies, Frontiers, & Critiques
“We seek papers which address discursive and/or material relationships between technology, broadly defined, and real estate in its many forms.”

Curating (in)security: Unsettling Geographies of Cyberspace
“In calling for the unsettling of current theorisation and practice, this session intends to initiate an exploration of the contributions geography can bring to cybersecurity and space.”

Is another smart city possible? Sharing cities and the urban commons in a digital age
“We welcome papers addressing these themes in general, or with reference to specific urban commons including: open data commons, open source apps, community wifi, alternative energy, housing, food sharing, transportation (bike share, ride share), public spaces, community gardens, planning, PPGIS etc.”

Mobile bodies, technologies and methods: critical perspectives
“The focus will be on how these technologies can be engaged with by critical geographers to bring new perspectives to their analysis of everyday embodiment.”

Robotic futures
“What does the growing integration of robots and robotic technologies into everyday life do and/or mean for the theorization of sociospatial relations?”

Data Infrastructures, Nature, and Politics
“This session explores the making and un-making of data infrastructures by which conservationists and corporations – as well as development practitioners, scientists, and state planners – generate scaled, uneven, and actionable knowledge about the environment.”



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I have a new article out in Security Dialogue, which uses the aftermath of the Boston Bombing as a way to understand new possibilities for crowdsourcing surveillance using data shared online. The abstract reads:

Possibilities for crowdsourced surveillance have expanded in recent years as data uploaded to social networks can be mined, distributed, assembled, mapped, and analyzed by anyone with an uncensored internet connection. These data points are necessarily fragmented and partial, open to interpretation, and rely on algorithms for retrieval and sorting. Yet despite these limitations, they have been used to produce complex representations of space, subjects, and power relations as internet users attempt to reconstruct and investigate events while they are developing. In this article, I consider one case of crowdsourced surveillance that emerged following the detonation of two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I focus on the actions of a particular forum on, which would exert a significant influence on the events as they unfolded. The study describes how algorithmic affordances, internet cultures, surveillance imaginaries, and visual epistemologies contributed to the structuring of thought, action, and subjectivity in the moment of the event. I use this case study as a way to examine moments of entangled political complicity and resistance, highlighting the ways in which particular surveillance practices are deployed and feed back into the event amid its unfolding.

Published version (paywall)
Accepted manuscript version (free)

Lally, N. 2016. Crowdsourced surveillance and networked data. Security Dialogue. doi: 10.1177/0967010616664459




I have new work in an upcoming show in the Fed Galleries at the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI. The show, titled The Land of Here and Now, is a collection of work by 27 artists who have participated in the amazing Shared Space Studio residency in Pentwater, MI. The show opens on Thursday, June 9, 5:30-7:30pm (I’ll be there) and runs through July 23.

Other artists include: Rose Beerhorst, Aliya Bonar, Melissa Borell, Alex Difiglia, Evan English, Eliza Fernand (Co-Curator), Marlee Grace, Elodie Goupil, Emily Harris, Elijah Jensen-Lindsey, Amy Johnquest, Amanda Kennedy, Joey Korein, Jeffry Kriksciun, Amanda Matles, Michelle Murphy, Joshua Orion-Kermit, Brian Perkins, Amber Phelps-Bondaroff, Paul Richardson, Kenny Riches, Mary Rothlisberger (Co-Curator), Scotty Slade Wagner, Heather Smith, Morganne Wakefield, Natalie Woodlock



San Juan Islands, WA

In the Fall of 2014, I visited the Friday Harbor Laboratories to “revisit” critical GIS with a group of about thirty scholars. This month, our commentary on the workshop is making its way to print in Environment and Planning AIf you have institutional access, you can download it on their website. If not, you can download the accepted manuscript version. Or, if you want the TL;DR version, skip to the last two lines: “We are continually revisiting critical GIS. Join us.”

Thatcher, J., L. Bergmann, B. Ricker, R. Rose-Redwood, D. O’Sullivan, T. J. Barnes, L. R. Barnesmoore, L. Beltz Imaoka, R. Burns, J. Cinnamon, C. M. Dalton, C. Davis, S. Dunn, F. Harvey, J.-K. Jung, E. Kersten, L. Knigge, N. Lally, W. Lin, D. Mahmoudi, M. Martin, W. Payne, A. Sheikh, T. Shelton, E. Sheppard, C. W. Strother, A. Tarr, M. W. Wilson, and J. C. Young. 2016. Revisiting critical GIS. Environment and Planning A 48 (5):815–824.


The schedule is out for the series of sessions Ryan Burns and I have organized for the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in San Francisco, March 29-April 2, 2016. All sessions are on March 30th in Union Square 16, Hilton Hotel Union Square, 4th Floor:

Toward a Geographical Software Studies 1: Political economy and infrastructures
Wednesday, 3/30/2016, from 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM

Laura Beltz Imaoka (University of California, Irvine), The Immaterial Value of Proprietary Software: Platforming ArcGIS

Ashwin Jacob Mathew (University of California, Berkeley/Packet Clearing House), Protocol as a Fieldsite

Till Straube (Goethe University Frankfurt), Seeing Like a Stack

Will Payne (University of California – Berkeley), What’s in a (Neighborhood) Name? Location-Based Services and Contested Delineations of Place

Discussant: James Thatcher (University of Washington – Tacoma)

Toward a Geographical Software Studies 2: Language and tools
Wednesday, 3/30/2016, from 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM

Matthias Plennert (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg), Analyzing the hidden backbone of an open-data-project: a genealogy of the OpenStreetMap data model

Warren SACK (University of California – Santa Cruz), Out of Bounds: Language Limits, Language Planning, and Linguistic Capitalism

Luke R. Bergmann (University of Washington), Speculative computing: toward Geographic Imagination Systems (GIS)

Pip Thornton (Royal Holloway, University of London), The Production of Context and the Digital Reconstruction of Language

Discussant: Cheryl Gilge (University of Washington)

Toward a Geographical Software Studies 3: The visual and control
Wednesday, 3/30/2016, from 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM

Craig M. Dalton (Hofstra University), Seeing with Software: Mobile device users’ geographic knowledges

Aaron Shapiro (University of Pennsylvania), The Surface of Things: Google Street View, Computer Vision, and Broken Windows

Louise Amoore (Durham University)

Teresa Scassa (University of Ottawa), Mapping Crime: Civic Technology in the Emerging Smart Cities Context

Discussant: Clare Melhuish (University College London)

Toward a Geographical Software Studies: methods and theory
Wednesday, 3/30/2016, from 5:20 PM – 7:00 PM

Elvin K. Wyly (University of British Columbia)

Pip Thornton (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Daniel G. Cockayne (University of Kentucky)

Keith Woodward (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Monica Degen

Discussant: Matthew W. Wilson (Harvard University)

Session Description: A growing body of recent geographic scholarship has focused its attention on software and algorithms. Some of these studies analyze geographic technologies —GIS and the geoweb, for example— as such, while others investigate a myriad of digital technologies that have become ubiquitous within the spaces of everyday life. These software/code objects interact with and modulate the world in complex ways, enact processes that connect humans and nonhumans, and become entangled with social, cultural, political, and economic systems. Moreover, software created to visualize data is used to produce knowledge about urban environments and everyday life, but obscure the processes and contexts which underlie its development. Engaging these topics, geographers have developed concepts like the “automatic production of space” (Thrift and French 2002), “software-sorted geographies” (Graham 2005), and “code/space” (Kitchin and Dodge 2011) to describe how software and space are co-constituted in the contemporary world. Productive research is building on these topics to explore new ways geographies are produced (Rose, Degen, and Melhuish 2014), governed (Amoore 2011), materialized, represented (Woodward et al. 2015), and lived through software (Kinsley 2014).

This session seeks to bring together a range of spatial thinkers who are producing new studies, theories, and methods for understanding and producing software. We welcome submissions that address all facets of software: the context of its production, its internal operational logics, the material work it does in the world, and its spatial distribution of social and political effects.

Sponsorships: Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group
Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group
Political Geography Specialty Group


In his book Speed and Politics first published in 1977, the french philosopher Paul Virilio writes of an early computer-aided predictive policing system being tested in France in this fascinating footnote (170-171):




In an attempt to trace a history of radical thought within the discipline of geography (and assemble a reading list for my qualifying exams), I’ve been experimenting with co-citation visualizations. These network graphs rely on citation data from Web of Science, connecting texts that are cited together a minimum number of times, as indicated by the citation threshold slider. I focused mostly on the journal Antipode, which has offered a “radical (Marxist/socialist/anarchist/anti-racist/feminist/queer/green) analysis of geographical issues” since its founding in 1969. Unfortunately, Web of Science only indexes Antipode articles from 1990 through 2015. But I was able to see how older Antipode articles have been taken up by three major English language geography journals (The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers) by mapping co-citations of Antipode articles within them. This allowed me to go back to 1969 for the Annals, 1982 for Progress, and 1970 for Transactions and produce this graph:


Zooming in reveals discussions within the discipline. For example on the left, we find five scholars debating visuality within geography in a special issue in Antipode, while on the right, we find an ongoing discussion about the university, education, and pedagogy:


Below are all of the graphs I’ve done so far. Let me know if you find any interesting patterns!

Co-Citations of Antipode Articles in the Annals (top 1500 cited articles 1969-2015), Progress (top 1000 cited articles 1982-2015), and Transactions (top 1000 cited articles 1970-2015)

Co-Citations, All Antipode Articles, 1990-2015

Co-Citations in the 50 Most Cited Articles, Antipode, 1990-2015

Co-Citations of Antipode Articles in Antipode, 1990-2015

Co-Citations in the Annals (top 1500 cited articles 1969-2015), Progress (top 1000 cited articles 1982-2015), and Transaction (top 1000 cited articles 1970-2015)

This work relies on code written by number of people. I used Neal Caren’s python script with slight modifications to convert the Web of Science data into a D3 graph. Kieran Healy’s code helped me modify the visualization. And Jonathan Goodwin’s code and write-up were super helpful in adding the citation threshold slider and putting everything together.