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>Tool


MapOmatix works as a collaborative environment for creating and editing maps. It can be used to develop maps on several thematics and subjects, they can contain physical elements ( oil resources, telecomunication antennas, ... ) as well as abstract ones ( human organisations, web servers, ... ) and relations between these entities. Behind this tool is the idea of editing and publishing tactical maps meaning maps developed as methodological tools to achieve tactic aims. The word tactic must be understood in the way Michel de Certau's defines it: "...victories of the 'weak' over the 'strong', clever tricks, knowing how to get away with things, 'hunter's cunning' maneuvers, polymorphic simulations, joyful discoveries, poetic as well as warlike". Tactics create a transitory type of power, which de Certeau likens to "a rented apartment.... transforming another person's property into a space borrowed for a moment" - a momentary escape from the dominant order. A tactic focusses on divergent uses of existing cultural objects, rather than creating objects anew. Thus elements of consumption that highlight pastiche and bricolage such as fashion or music (especially punk and hip hop), are often analysed as tactics that subvert intended meanings and functions. [source]


>Synopsis

MapOmatix does privilege mapping on subjective and psycogeographic (geopoetic) territories: mapping the relations and representations that subjects perform in space/time and the territories and memories contained in places and events.
This practice is based on lines of past, the different layers embedded in history, letting us discover the succession and evolution of antagonisms our society is built upon. We aim to research for the dynamics of injustice and the queries opposing it, inequalities and the actions that balance it, discrimination, exclusion etc. The mapping of these tensions, confronts us to historical materialism and the conscience of this we consider a way to fight alienation.

Mapomatix is not a GIS/GPS based system [see for further details this article]. It works like a geo-wiki, so nothing is definitive and you can make your map to evolve in time. You have a series of control shortcuts to perform the edition of your map (to add nodes, change them save etc)and you can include all series of media elements to build your map including pictures, sounds, videos, links, rss feeds, texts and streams.

You can map alone or in company. We recognise the value of mapping in a group but the tool is made for many types of situations. MapOmatix is a tool to reflect upon the practice of cartography in all its various forms, from geographical maps, to mental maps and symbolic representations of events. It is meant to be a collaborative tool best suited for people that work on the internet together and can help each other on the chat. Potentially it may amplify your collective practices but Mapomatix is not real time, you can work in a group but it is not a networked playstation. You can add your nodes together because it allows the collaborative edition of maps. One of the examples of maps made collectively on a subject is the one on immigration and repression enforced upon subsaharian immigrants in Marruecos in 2005. This shows exactly the kind of dynamic behind, that of a connected group of people exchanging information and producing the materials needed to lay out a map (*acknowledging here the work of indymedia channel #madiaq).

>> Technical requirements

This project is developed with perl/SVG and you need to install the SVG plugin from Adobe for the full experience. It has been tested successfully on Linux/Mozilla (Adobe SVG viewer with Mozilla) and Mac OSX/Internet Explorer. We are sorry that it works on Window$ too (Internet Explorer), it was not intentional.
Window$: Internet Explorer
Linux: Mozilla with Adobe SVG viewer
MAC OS: Internet Explorer. In Mac OSX and windows the best is to work with explorer and there are some issues about explorer not being free anymore for Mac users --> You can download Internet Explorer here

You can download the MapOmatix application from Sourceforge

About SVG plugin and browsers:
Downloading the adobe svg viewer should work with no problem, clicking on it, it gets installed. You should restart your browsers in order to make it work.


>>MapOmatix, Main steps:

>>> Underlining some aspects of the practice of mapping

It is true that is not focused on geographical territories but it is focused on making territories as 'making places'. We have thought of a few questions that may help you to define what you want to map. Is it a territory, is it some concepts, is it an event, a slice of time-space, a group of persons connected to a specificic event? What are you going to make visible through the creation of a map that will be accessible through the internet?

When designing your map give attention to the weight of nodes, remember that you can create your own scales giving values to your events . You can give to each node of data a weight based on your criterias (i.e.: Degree of scarcity of ressources, Degree of violence, Percentage of population, Lexical groups or families of concepts...). You can give the same weight to the related concepts.

Relating space and time: Take into account the spatial and temporal dimensions of your “playground”, keep in mind when you collect and organise your data, that mapOmatix allows you to link time and space. When you are looking for information on a subject try to remember their temporal dimension. Think of displaying your information in time, making use of the chronological tool and fields.
Creation time and deletion time are two fields of the input form, you are not obliged to fill them, but if you want to relate your node with its temporal dimension you should fill them. This info will appear as red marks upon the timeline. Remember that the lenght of them will depend of the weight you had associated. The creation time can be filled without specifying a deletion time, that means that you can map events that are taking place and thus that don't have a date of end. You can also get rid of both dimensions to concentrate on people or concepts.

The compulsories fields are the names of the nodes: It is required that you name every created node in mapOmatix otherwise is difficult to localise it in the database and the coordinates in the creation of the Map: They are not obligatory for the events placed in the map but only to allow the visibility of your svg canvas in your screen. To get the coordinates (latitud/longitud) for your map you can use the map reference. See 'Earth Explorer'

Creating a new Canvas: To create a new canvas, make sure your svg image for the background of your map is real svg. You can use a text editor to see if the image that you have created have nodes and coordinates and not only a linked image. This happens sometimes when using Adobe Illustrator. Other FLOSS options are Inkscape (for mac users you will need X11 installed) and Delineate-raster to SVG converter (Autotrace and potrace). Open office draw also enables you to export your drawings to SVG but it doesn't allows you ton import in the OO drawing images and then export them to SVG. You can only export to SVG the images you created with OO draw.

Right SVG showing paths
Wrong SVG showing linked images

Remember that the coordinates are required in a compulsory way in the first steps of Uploading your canvas. When you are mapping a military conflict with occupied territories or migrations or refugee camps it makes sense to respect the geographical coordinates . When the map tries to be a testimony of “geopolitical” situations of opression inforced against the weak and dispossesed we find useful to locate it as in example the map in marrocos.

About the icons

The icons are used to illustrate your map... you can either upload your own icons, or you can have a look to the existent icons already uploaded inside mapomatix and use them for your own purposes (if you choose the second option you won't be able to change its original name).
When you upload icons never forget to name each icon you are uploading, otherwise you will not be able to find it on the list of icons when you are ready to work with it. Also think of the proper name for it so it is coherent with the map you are creating. Avoid names as icon1 or red Icon unless it makes sense in your map. The name of the icon will be displayed in the lay out, so make sure it makes sense in your narrative. But not only this, try also to think that others will reuse your icons with another purposes. So, pay attention in the naming of the icons.
The legend of our icons that appears on the right of your map may be cut, that is one reason to avoid long names for your icons. Remember also that nodes appears on the right of the map in the order you insert them, think about it when you insert them in the map. About their format: They can also be SVG but is not so necessary. It works just fine if it is GIF/JPEG/PNG image and any web publishing image in relatively small sizes (+-500kb). Avoid using windows formats as ICO or others that might seem very practical at first sight.

>> Editing your map

>>> Nature of the nodes

Sub Map : it consists of another map that you insert inside your first canvas, it allows you to add and separate difrerent territorial or symbolic levels.
Comment : it allows to insert a textual comment without icon and that can be styled ( bold, italique, ... ) multi-line text.
Object: it allows to insert an icon associated to a text without link.
Web Site: it allows to insert an icon and text connected to an external web link.
RSS Feed: it allows you to insert inside the map a RSS feed, that means an updated view of an RSS feed that will appear in another window, [other definitions of RSS: Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary or RDF Site Summary, several similar forms of web syndication used by news websites and weblogs - source: wikipedia]
Image: it allows to insert an image that appears on the right screen of the map when it is requested.
Sound: it allows insert a piece of sound ( converted to ogg format from many possible formats : wav, aiff, .. ) that will be played back on the right screen of the map when it is requested.
Video: it allows to insert a video ( converted to ogg format from many possible formats : mpeg, avi, ... ) that will be played back on the right screen of the map when it is requested.
Streaming Server: it allows to insert in your map a list of currently available streams emitted on a streaming server ( format ogg audio or video ) like this one located in Norway. [other definitions: “media that is consumed (heard or viewed) while it is being delivered. Streaming is more a property of the delivery system than the medium itself. The distinction is usually applied to media that are distributed over computer networks; most other delivery systems are either inherently streaming (radio, television) or inherently non-streaming (books, video cassettes, audio Cds). [source: wikipedia]
Streaming Source : it is used to locate an emitting single source stream, in ogg audio or video format like this one located in Chile.

formulario

>>> Add a new node

Name : this will be the name of your node
Orientation : if you want to rotate your node from horizontality
Icon : choose one of the icons you have uploaded or one that appears on the menu
Width/Height : select the size you want to give to your icon
Text : This is the text that can appear all time long upon your icon (it is recommend to make it short)
Comment : Write the text you want, it will appear as a tool tip when the mouse will roll over the node
Text Size : select the size you want the text upon the icon appears
Text Color : choose a colour for your text
Offset X - Offset Y : Allows you to place the text upon the node, up/down and left/right
Latitud : this refers to territorial coordinates of your node, you can search and find them here: earth explorer
Longitud: this refers to territorial coordinates of your node, you can search and find them here: earth explorer
Link : if you want to relate your node with a website please copy it here
Meta Info : select key words that you do associate to this node, they will appear at the right of the screen
Creation time : allows you to determine a time of creation that appears as a red mark on the timeline below the map
Deletion time : allows you to determine a time of deletion that appears as a red mark on the timeline below the map
Weight : this is a measure that you relate to your node and that will give a specific length to the red mark upon the timeline

>>> Modifying nodes

Press 'a' key and click on the map to add nodes: this command allows you to insert new node in the map
Press 'm' key and click on a node to modify it: this command allows you to modify the characteristics of a node in the map
Press 'd' key and click on a node to delete it: this command allows you to delete a node in the map, caution with this command because there is no return point ince the node 's delete
To move a node: drag it on the map and then click on the "S" or "S+" button
"S+" will save your changes keeping track of the history: those commands allows you to move your nodes in other places of the map, this command can be really useful to reorganize a map but you must keep in mind that you are dealing with several layers of data and when a lot of nodes are next one to the others, the drag and drop option can result more difficult, take in account to move those nodes through the ways where there is less nodes.
Press 'l' key and click on a node to add a link: this command allows you to insert a link inside the map
Press 'c' key and click on a node to modify a link: this command allows you to modify and old link inside the map
Press 'u' key and click on a node to delete a link: this command allows you to delete a link inside the map
Press 'r' key and click on the map to create a layer
Press 't' key and click on the map to modify a layer
Press 'y' key and click on the map to delete a layer
Press 'f' key and click on the map to activate a date filter
Press 'e' key and click on the map to export a map as an image
: this command allows you to capture the image of your map and to export it as an image in a .png format (Portable Network Graphics) that means you must edit it with any image editor to be able to save it other formats as jpg etc.

 

>> Maintenance of your map

The maps generated with MapOmatix can be snapshots of a precise moment or event, it can works as a tool to synthetize and translate specific moments and places for persons alones or groups. But if it is required and desired that the map perdure it must tak in account a tactic of maintenance and reactualisation of its data. It exists several a good tips as to insert RSS feeds, or stream source/ servers, that you feel are interesting and that can provide your map of elements that are related to evolutive dynamics. Furthermore it is possible that a map will perdure a long time if he is used by a group to achieve some tactical aims of activist research in order to map, translate, some data they want to share, develop, make available. In any case always remind that you map can be compsoed by several scales, you can impose several dynamics of life to some of them, but the one's who may work best would be the ones based on curiosity and exchang, spread your map, show others to use the features and to insert their own information, that is perhaps one of the best way to develop a maintenance of your map,

>>> FAQ

> if mapomatix is a free sofware project why do i need to use the iexplorer (when windows SOP) to manage it?:
The format used ( SVG ) is a free open standard, but it is still not fully supported by open source browsers. Firefox, Opera are in the process of supporting it, but it isn't usable for now.

> when does the adobe plugin will work fine for mozilla firefox?:
Firefox makes its own implementation of SVG, still incomplete, it doesn't require the Adobe plugin.

> is there are some implications of the size images you upload (icons, and canvas) when you edit your map afterwhile (fast, slow)?:
The background should be a real SVG ( 200 to 500 k ), and icons should be small images ( up to 50x50 ) to run smoothly.

> why can't i have a specific login for my map so i ensure that nobody else modifies it?:
You can do that by modifying the access to pages on your web server (meaning to download the MapOmatix application in sourceforge: link). In that case you can deny the access to the editing pages and let everyone see your map.

> why there isn't an history of the several evolutions of the map i am making?:
You can use node creation times to handle this, managing the timeline evolution to keep a track of your ongoing modifications.

> why when i try to modify/delete one specific node the tool sometimes proposes me the input-form of another node?:
Because all information related to the nodes are laying in a same level, so it proposes to your request the closest node from where you clicked.

>Links

A text by alejandra/elpueblodechina,explaining the concepts behind mapomatix can be found here

See the Brussels workshop to get an idea bout meetings on maps and living archives

>Aplications

Some examples of maps achieved with this tool are listed below, remember it requires to download the SVG plugin
Platforms: Mac OSX/ Internet Explorer, Windows/Internet Explorer and Linux/Mozilla

Living Memories of the Social Forums.
Those maps about the living memories around social forums are not complete neither exhaustive. We have try to give a first overview of the recent history of the social forums as a space for the meeting, confluence of social movements and the elaboration of knowledge for and from social and political transformation. This visualisation focuses mostly on the (im)material production of tools and knowledge merged before, during and after the social forums. We have try to identify which groups have worked on registering, systematizing, organizing, interpreting, spreading those data.

Moleculas
Barcelona free roofs zone
Maroccan immigration repression
Mapa estat espanyol Violencies de Genere- Feminicidi
Map of where can be seen the pirate analogical television from okupem les ones in Barcelona


 

 

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