The Open Map

A Granular Structure for Ambient Readings


  • Başak Uçar TED University
  • Pelin Yoncacı Arslan Middle East Technical University



Maps are preeminent ways of collecting, organising, verifying, historicising, and even mystifying territorial knowledge. They embrace a multiplicity of readings and readers, and mediate between the visible and the invisible. In constant re-definition, maps transform and maximise themselves by connecting different layers of information and initiating uninterrupted performances. Without delineating a fixed meaning, maps respond to the city’s openness via diversity, incompleteness, and unpredictability. New developments in computer science and information technologies have turned maps into grittier models that define the new granular front of the open map. This article studies open maps in terms of participation and multiplicity, part and whole relationships, and resolution vis-à-vis Jasper Johns’s paintings, Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map and the World Game, and the MIT’s Real-time Rome project.

Author Biographies

Başak Uçar, TED University

Başak Uçar received her PhD from Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture (Ankara) in 2011. She is currently working as an assistant professor in the TED University (Ankara) Department of Architecture, where she has been teaching design and theory courses since 2012. Her major research interests include computational design, architectural representation, digital culture, and data visualisation. Her recent work deals with architectural design education and its engagement with architectural representation and mediascapes.

Pelin Yoncacı Arslan, Middle East Technical University

Pelin Yoncacı Arslan received her B. Arch in Architecture and MA degree in Architectural History from Middle East Technical University (Ankara) Department of Architecture (1999–2006). She earned her PhD degree in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles (2015). Yoncacı Arslan currently works at Middle East Technical University as an assistant professor in Architectural History and leads the Architectural History Digital Humanities Lab. Major research interests include the use of digital applications in architectural history writing, network analysis, digital mapping, the integration of archaeological, textual and visual evidence onto 3D visualizations of historic urban environments.


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