Integrating social network data into GIS Systems

The article begins by criticizing the use of geography in the context of systems analysis. Up until this point, the primary use of geography within this field of study referred to distance decay relationships in the context of social relationships. Indeed, it seems that the combination of geography and system’s analysis provides a quantative view in the diffusion of social and ties and friendship patterns over a spatial area. The authors of this article call on the recognition of topology, movement, ontologies of distance and the social ties of cliques into this context. They use concepts as social flows, which is data created by people and ‘anthrospaces’ which are the localities in which people find themselves in.
Through this production of data, and this recognition of spatial patterns, for the first time in human history, we would be able to adequately study the diffusion of ideas and cultural shifts through individuals’ production of tangible data being put in the context scope of wider social relationality and in geography.

This kind of tool seems to have a lot of potential of being very powerful to study or even control populations. While academics could use it in their respective fields to some interesting results, I am afraid about how this may be used by a power structure that strives off of surveillance. Could this technology be used to harbor greater control on dissenting groups in society? I think that it may.

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