Security and Mapping
Visualization and Security Mapping
Some of the dominant analytical and practical techniques our
students engage with are approaches that unpick key geo-political
representations, imagery, policies, documents, and documentaries. But while the
students become adept at critical analysis and a wide range of writing, social
media and presentational techniques, we also work to develop skills in the theory
and practice of geographical information systems (GIS).
To do this we partnered with Université de
Cergy-Pontoise Department of Geography and their masters programme in GIS this spring on a security mapping
During this probably quite unique collaboration of UK-French
staff and students, and building on Royal Holloway’s role as a satellite village for the
rowers during the 2012 London Olympics, our students worked together to
consider, investigate and critically represent the kinds of security threats
present during a mega-event, and the security apparatus that would be
constructed to mitigate those vulnerabilities. This took the form of a G8
style political summit scenario held at Royal Holloway’s campus, but we began the project with a tour of the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.
With insights from the Metropolitan Police and cartographers
responsible for the contingency planning of the 2012 games, the students spent 3 hectic but enjoyable days working together using a blend of advanced GIS techniques in 3d
mapping, risk analysis, and participatory methods. The teams considered a
wide range of vulnerabilities and developed threat and risk heat maps of the
campus by drawing onan array of
materials from archival documents to utility providers. Crucially they were asked to
consider who would use these kinds of representations, and how they would be
used to mitigate issues as wide ranging as terrorism, protest, flooding to
cyber attack.The students split into 3 working groups: 1. Crime and Terrorism, 2. Protest and Civil Disorder and 3. Hazards and Civil Contingencies.
The groups were asked to think critically about these approaches
and to develop ways of involving communities to participate and
question the production of security infrastructures. The teams also took seriously the consequences of security for those who live and work with it and were asked to question their plans according to proportionality and fairness.
Immediate write-ups of the project have begun already: see http://rhulgeopolitics.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/critical-security-mapping/
[we will be producing a film about the event, so please
check back here for an update]