Contemporary Geopolitics and Digital Representations of Space

Abstract

This research is premised on two theoretical constructs: that maps do not objectively depict space and that traditional cartography produces a geopolitical narrative. The research aim is to investigate geopolitical influence in modern, digital representations of space, and vice versa. This paper is divided into three parts: In the first, the digital representation of space is introduced and explained, and two widely acknowledged digital cartographic services are established as the empirical foundation of the research – Google (Google Maps and Google Earth), designed by cartographic and geo-data professionals, and OpenStreetMap, built through crowdsourcing. In the second part, the geopolitical features of traditional cartography are discussed in the context of digital mapping, including ethnocentricity and hierarchical representations of space, similarities to geopolitische karte, and “minor geopolitics.” The final part asks and answers a key question about geopolitical subjectivity: “Who benefits from the geopolitical narratives in digital representations of space?”

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