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Visualizing risk: making sense of collaborative disaster mapping

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/01/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date20/01/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper examines the relationship between collaborative disaster mapping and conceptions of risk. It looks at the practice of mapmaking during the 2007 wildfires in Southern California to explore sociotechnological issues in creating a shared understanding. By comparing and contrasting how two different, yet intertwined, maps were made this paper focuses on how the sociotechnical acts of alignment necessary for the production of the maps change how risk, threat and uncertainty are approached. One mapmaking practice pulled the actors into a more centralized alignment producing risks related to managing authority and security. The other provided a more distributed collaboration and produced risks related to public trust and consistency. This paper argues that mapmaking is characterized as a messy, distributed network of knowledge production in which the meaning of risk emerges through the collaborations that evolve in making sense of the wildfires, not as an a priori definition.