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Intro of the Atlas System

Interactive Tools

Barbara Piatti, with visualisations by Anne-Christine Krämer and Anne-Kathrin Reuschel
»A Literary Atlas of Europe« – Analysing the Geography of Fiction with an Interactive Mapping and Visualisation System

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This paper contains an outlook about how a future »Literary Atlas of Europe« might look like – as an interactive mapping and visualisation system. A graphically elaborated scenario, conceptualised by the visual designer Anne-Christine Krämer, the cartographer Anne-Kathrin Reuschel and Barbara Piatti, expert in literary history and theory, presents some of the most important functionalities an atlas information system for literature should offer. It is based on formalised readings and data already collected via an online template and stored in a database (currently literary-geographical readings of approx. 200 texts are available). Not every tool presented in the following will be implemented into the prototype, some of them have to be regarded as pure sketches, a collection of ideas, developed also with experts from literary studies, who told us their specific needs and wishes concerning a toolbox for literary-geographical research.

The paper presents a number of map samples and important functions, which crucially support the analysis  of the spatial dimension of literature – such toggling between different map types, e.g statistical visualisation and single object maps; comparing the fictional space of a novel with a historical map of the area, that served as model for the settings, scale switching, comparing serveral literary maps side by side and so on.

Historical Map and Literary Map - side by side

“… other maps from the same author can be called up in order to compare how the german-czech writer Libuse Monikova was using the same geospatial unit –  Prague – in many different ways in her writing. In the same sense maps from other authors are available, arranged in a list. This is one of the major advantages single text mapping offers – the comparison between various ways to deal with a given extract of geospace in different works of fiction by one or several authors. Sometimes there are dozens, even hundreds of settings packed in one model regions, sometimes there are only a few important places where all the action happens.”

Function-change within literary texts

Note: The entire scenario can be accessed as a movie file on this site

Piatti, B. (2011); Reuschel, A.-K.; Hurni, L.: A Literary Atlas of Europe – Analysing the Geography of Fiction with an Interactive Mapping and Visualisation System, In: Proceedings of the 25th International Cartographic Conference, Paris    ➔ Download Paper

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