EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Topological mapping: new method to map, analyze, and visualize humanistic data in the Arctic

Levi Westerveld
Levi Westerveld
  • GRID Arendal

Maps have always played a central role in the analysis, visualization, and communication of environmental scientific data. In recent years, a growing number of social scientists have turned to mapping and Geographic Information Science (GIS) tools, to visualize and map human experiences, including in the Arctic. At the same time, social and theoretical critiques of GIS as a tool wielded chiefly by and for those in power have increased awareness of its limitations, particularly for studying human perceptions, experiences, and the meanings of place. Indeed, many places tied to human experience, such as emotions, sounds, or memories, cannot be mapped in a conventional GIS: they do not fit the rigidity of the Cartesian grid. They may lack coordinates, or simply have ambiguous boundaries. In this presentation, I discuss how a new mapping methodology – topological mapping – developed in the context of Holocaust research, can be applied for integrating traditional knowledge, or human experience, in Arctic geographical research. This new method pushes the field of GIScience in new directions, providing new opportunities for trans-disciplinary research, which better integrates humanistic data in mapping for analysis and communication. Using examples from using topological mapping whilst working with Saami reindeer herders youth, I demonstrate the potential for this new mapping method in the Arctic.  

How to cite: Westerveld, L.: Topological mapping: new method to map, analyze, and visualize humanistic data in the Arctic, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-16365,, 2021.


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