MAS 965: Social Visualization Maps and Metaphors

Professor Judith Donath


essays and sketches


Maps to draw:  if you have not yet done the readings, do these drawings first, and then do the readings. 

1.       Draw a map of Cambridge and Boston. Do this quickly, and without consulting a published map.  (Please do this on paper, not with the computer).  Put in the major landmarks – in blue, put in the ones that you would include if you were drawing the map to help describe the city to someone who has never been here, and in red, put in the ones that you would include if you were describing your life here in the city to a friend. 

2.       Draw a map of either an online discussion or of your email.  Again, do this quickly, preferably on paper.  Here, of course, there is no physical reality that you are depicting, but do your best to quickly sketch out a 2 dimensional layout for this material

If you have not done the readings, do them now.  Incorporate the readings into your answers to the questions below.

Questions to answer:

1.       Compare your Cambridge/Boston map to an accurate geographical one.  What are the differences in the layout of the space?  Why do you think they occurred?  How does your method of transportation affect how you see the city?  Your school?  Your friends?  What makes the city legible – or not?

2.       In your map of a discussion space, how did you choose what was at the top of the page, and what on the bottom?  How did you use size?  Would the map work equally well with top and bottom reversed?  What about left and right?  Is there meaning to proximity?  Is anything inside anything else?  Are there other metaphoric uses of space or representation you can see in your map?

This assignment is due Tuesday. If you can scan your map, please do so. In either case, please bring the paper version to class on Wednesday.  And, submit the essays and scanned maps (if available) online .

If you have any problems with doing so, send email to Fernanda Viegas