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Accepted Paper:

Visualising Ethnography in Maps: Cartographic Storytelling in Siberia  

Author:

Alexis Sancho Reinoso (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

LifeofBAM.com is the outreach tool for portraying ethnographic data to the broader public in Siberia along the Baikal Amur Mainline railroad. In this paper, the problems and opportunities to intersect qualitative data and GIS in the research project "Configurations of Remoteness" will be discussed.

Paper long abstract:

The website www.lifeofbam.com is an outreach tool developed in the context of the research project "CoRe - Configurations of Remoteness: Entanglements of Humans and Transportation Infrastructure in the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) Region" in Siberia. It is a cartographic storytelling portal where ethnographic knowledge is translated into a series of narrative and illustrated episodes. These are linked to a dynamic map which takes the visitor interactively though the studied locations along and off the BAM. Users can trace research results in lay language. This is of importance to reach out to the broader public and to feed back findings and materials to the research partners in the field who contributed with their knowledge. The target groups are therefore interview partners, experts from museums and cultural centres, social and political institutions as well as inhabitants of the villages and cities along the railroad. The project team continuously extends the episodes in English and in Russian and updates their analysis.

This paper will highlight the potentials of interactive cartographic storytelling and touch upon the challenges that come along with the methodological linkage of a numeric system such as GIS and often spatially blurred qualitative data. We discuss also the benefits and shortcomings of the ArcGIS storymap platform as well as the effectiveness of internet based outreach involving heavy data traffic in places with limited technical infrastructure (such as Siberia). Finally, we explore analytic and epistemic potentials of cartographic storytelling and invite discussion of its technical and methodological boundaries.

Panel ME07
Ethnography and GIS