Collectively Mapping Borders

This map is part of an advanced cartography final project titled, Collectively Mapping Borders.

In October 2015, I asked North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) attendees in Minneapolis, MN to collectively remap Syria’s borders based on excerpts from my interviews with refugees and humanitarian workers. Participants were given one of six notebooks and various colored pens. Each page had a blank space for drawing, a locator map, and a quote from one of my interviewees—Adiba and Mohammed. My instructions asked participants to sketch a new symbol depicting the border described in the individual’s quote.

I created a composite representation of Syria the combines the techniques used by the NACIS community. This new alternative map nudges cartography forward by asking cartographers (professional and amateur alike) to collectively rethink borders and their symbolization. By focusing on border symbolization, participants—myself included—were able to expand our visualization and cartographic vocabulary to better reflect the experiences of those crossing each border. It is my hope that this map gives Syrians a geographic voice as yet unavailable to them through our convention techniques and homogenous border symbolization.

You can find a full PDF and html version published in Cartographic Perspectives, Visual Fields here.