Discussion GIS readings for week 6

(Note: This report was written in the second half of 2020 as part of a social applications of GIS course)

Desert wonderings: reimagining food access mapping:

The authors argued that existing food dessert maps “overlook community assets” and the use of cliché indicators such as “proximity to supermarkets and transportation access” do not produced a nuanced and in depth understanding of food access. They registered their dissatisfaction with the word “food desserts” by using an alternative term “food topologies.”


The authors mentioned that the analysis of the price data for the Thrifty Meal Plan was a little problematic and had some inconsistencies because 39 persons had collected this data from stores. Since this quantitative aspect was considered important. I was wondering if it would have been more consistent to have had field staff buy these items (a few key items if cost was a major constraint) or have them take pictures of products — that show the sizes/grams and prices.

Gender and GIS:

Social and environmental phenomena impact the male and female genders differently. It is important to think through and understand how this impacts and experiences vary across both genders. Negative impacts on the female gender are often prioritized because they seem to be the most vulnerable group compared to the male gender for most of these social and environmental phenomena, for example, climate change.


While women have been historically disadvantaged on many fronts, it seems we are setting up a system that gradually invisibilizes** men. Can the space be created where counter-mapping is used to understand better the views of men and how policies impact men negatively?

Critical GIS as a tool for social transformation:

Using examples from cartography and teaching, the author shows how critical GIS scholarship engages ongoing progressive politics and creates new possibilities for change. They also noted how the Geoweb is gradually becoming a “capitalist and surveillance space” through commercially driven surveillance and the manufacturing of “big data.”


Should it be a concern if the Geoweb compiles data from users if those data has been de-identified, aggregated by demographics of interest, and persons cannot be traced based on the data?

*Note: This was definitely a critical point in my studies in the US. Every week we summarized readings for the week and came up with questions to discuss in a small group of 3 -5 students. My female American classmate was so amazed at my comment. How could anyone be making a case for men?!

The questions were anonymized before given to the groups. My classmate asked, “Dorcas was that you?” Implying that I definitely had to be the odd one out. The one who will make a case for men.

I think we have to be careful the way we express our feminism such that we are not operating in the spirit of the anti-Christ. God had a reason for creating men. Even if historically power relations worked in favor of men. Women should not aim to be guilty of the crime they so despise. Aristotle’s “On virtues and vices,” come to mind. Despite our vindictiveness as females, we need to steer towards that middle ground always.

One of my male friends from China once commented, “the worst thing to be in America now is to be a man. If you are a woman, cool! A transgender, maybe even better…but a man, no.”

This comment came long after the weekly task referenced above.

On my YouTube channel — Dorcas Omowole, I am still talking about tips to succeed academically in a series called RHALIA…but I should get to these kinds of issues soon.

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