Its been quite a few months since I sent an e-mail to this list of 2596 awesome people.
Sorry for the delay. Expect another e-mail in about a month!
This e-mail is about:
1) One year anniversary of being listed in search engines
2) Deaccessioning my maps / on-line store refurbishment
3) Books & touring exhibition updates
4) The Colonial Status
5) LOTS of Website Updates
Curious? Good. Scroll slowly….
1) 1 year anniversary of being listed in search engines
The impetus for today’s e-mail was to follow-up on an on-going experiment that started two years ago this coming Saturday. As many of you know, I had an article about me published in the Style section of the Washington Post which was one of the first e-mails many of you received. The article was about how I spent 3.5 years building a website full of original maps but removed the ability to of search engines to access my maps. Yet instead of releasing the contents of my website on the day of the article’s publication, or it’s subsequent international syndication, I waited a year to remove the robots exclusion protocol that would finally open up my website to the world wide web. This marks the first anniversary of the contents of my website being available to search engines.
According to GoStats, an IP analysis website, in the last year, the first after the removal of my electronic Berlin wall, my website was visited by 81,000 people who clicked on 115,000 pages. Compare this to the previous year after the article’s publication, and subsequent international syndication, where I received 35,000 visitors (most came from the Washington Post website). Each month that my website has been in the search engines has seen a slight increase in the number of people (ad robots) who visit my website each day. While modest in number, I am currently averaging about 300-500 people a day. In the first three months of 2009 my website has been visited by people from United States (20,020 people), Canada (1598), United Kingdom (1488), Germany (751), Netherlands (723), Spain (464), Australia (416), India (359), France (333), China (308), Italy (258), Brazil (229), Turkey (206), Indonesia (202), Poland (192), Mexico (187), Belgium (187), Romania (172), Thailand (171), Sweden (162) and many other countries who did not make this top 20 listing.
So what will year two involve? Will traffic double or will it remain, as I predicted two years ago in the article, “an obscure website”? I don’t know, but I can say that my biggest surprise of opening my website is not that more people would read the front page of my blog where I post my fresh content. Instead, nearly all my website’s traffic comes from people reading the archives. With over 2,500 modified aerial photographs and over 750 random photographs & images, most of the visitors to my website come through image searches instead of text searches. I guess the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” still applies to images on the internet.
To bypass the clutter of a website I’ve built over the years,
you can still get fresh content by subscribing to my RSS feed:
2) Deaccessioning my maps / on-line store refurbishment
Months prior to the publication of the article I had been slowly adding my maps to my Imagekind on-line store. Sometime in late January 2007 I had uploaded most of the maps I had made in 2005 & 2006 which totaled over 200 different maps. At that time I had discovered that my on-line store contained more posters than were currently available from the world’s largest satellite company’s on-line store. Content with that, I decided to stop adding new maps because I found it to be too cumbersome to sort the maps in the store & edit my blog entries with direct links to the store. In the two years they have been viewed 87,055 times on my on-line store and in that same period I’ve sold 36 maps to anonymous buyers and printed 14 for people who requested different maps not in the store. At the end of this month this will all change….
I’ve decided to slowly deaccession (remove) my maps from the on-line store at the end of the month. One aspect of the operation that has bothered me is that I’ve never had full control over how the maps were printed. For example, right now you can have one of my maps printed on cheap paper that I think is merely average. While its inexpensive and looks decent, I don’t feel that the paper holds the ink as well as other paper, and in the future I don’t intend on selling any of my maps on that paper.
Starting in April I will begin to edit my blog entries and remove nearly all of the maps from my on-line store. In the place of this digital store, I am going to start printing up limited editions of the maps that I have made over the years. For the next few weeks, however, you can choose to print any one of my maps on any paper. In other words, this is your last chance to have completely customized prints without having to go directly through me for the indefinite future.
Here are the links to my on-line store galleries:
— If you live in a major city in America, I probably have you covered—
UNTIL APRIL 1st
3) Book & Exhibition Updates
In the fall of this year my map “Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge Quilt,” will be the cover art for a unique book of poetry called “Bright Felon” by Kazim Ali (Weselyan Poetry). The map will features a geography significant to the author because he lived in the area contained within the map. You can preorder your copy of the book on Amazon or view it on my website.
A copy of my map “Pentagon Quilt #3” is currently on it’s two year tour apart of the traveling exhibition “Experimental Geography” by Nato Thompson, Curators International. The exhibit is currently at the Rochester Art Center in Rochester, New York.
Later this month, on March 21st, there will be a panel discussion at the New Museum in New York City. The discussion will focus on the creative use of landscape hacking, cartography, locative media, and radical urbanism as a means of engaging with the politics of contested spaces. In presenting work from the show and book, the panelists will explore the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, and the juncture where the two realms collide.
4) Colonial Status Updates
Little did not know that I would become a second-class citizen of America when I moved into the District of Columbia. I soon found out that a America has its own secret little international human rights violation taking place in the seat of it’s government. The residents of America’s capital city, a diverse 580,000+ citizens, are denied representation in their government. America has the only capital of any industrialized nation which denies its citizens the right to be represented in their federal government. This Founding Fathers Faux-Pas renders me a colonist that lives under the tyranny of 535 unelected members of Congress. So I dress up for the part.
With the new Democratic Party controlled Congress in place, an out-dated Act was reintroduced to Congress to attempt to address this colonial issue. The District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 was written when Republicans controlled Congress and is fundamentally flawed. In 2006 when I first watched the Act be introduced into Congress, I redesigned the DC license plate to say “Taxation With 1/3 Representation” as means to say that equality does not exist in fractions. The Act provides a single vote in House of Representatives for my Delegate, but at the same time, denies District residents representation in Senate. The bill explicitly states that the District of Columbia will be permanently represented with an unequal amount of representation. The constitution has been pretty firm about who gets representation: only states.
The bill magically swept through the House Subcommitte on the Consitution, which had the same witnesses and the testimony as the previous time the Act was introduced. I was identified in the Washington Post as “dressed in colonial attire” at that hearing and the following week former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman publicly introduced me as “one of the District’s oldest residents” during the Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The Act then moved to the floor of the Senate….
Enter the National Rifle Association. Republican lawmakers attached an amendment to the Act written by the NRA that completely rewrites the gun laws of the District of Columbia. The original Act was supposed to expand democracy to the residents of the District of Columbia, but paradoxically the NRA Amendment ignores the sovereign laws enacted by the people of the District of Columbia. How can democracy be expanded while at the same time undermined? Answer: it can’t. There was not one Senator who was allowed to debate the Amendment representing the District of Columbia because DC residents have no Senators. But, alas, even with the passage of the bill there will still be no voice of the people in Senate. But the larger issue is that the National Rifle Association, a special interest group, has more voice than the people of the District of Columbia. Pretty sad right? The bill is still being worked on so it can come to a final vote, but I hope it dies a painful death from a gunshot wound.
You can view all of my DC Colonist updates here:
5) Website Updates
I’ve stopped making new maps each day because I’ve pretty much completed the task of mapping every major city in America. I have a book proposal for an atlas of urban America that has been rejected a few times and if you happen to know of anyone who might be interested in publishing it, please get them in touch with me. I am hesitant to go the self-publishing route, but I might go ahead and make a test book.
In lieu of making new maps at the pace I used to make them, I’ve added a new featured called “Daily Links.” This automatic posting comes from my Google Reader Shared Links page, which means that every time I read a blog entry that I like and I hit “share” the following day that link will be featured on my website. With over 200 different blogs that I am subscribed to, this feature consists of a wide variety of content that is not just map related.
I’ve joined Twitter and I’ve synched it up to my Facebook account and my website.
Every time I post to Twittter, you can see it at the top of the website.
I’ve added a GChat link to the top of my page. This will allow you to chat with me anytime you visit my website! If there is a green icon it means I am currently logged into GChat and am available to chat with you!
I’ve added my map of the New York Public Library to Gigapan. This allows you to look around the map at it’s full 216 megapixel resolution.
To view all of the content I’ve placed on my website since I wrote you last, click on the following links:
As always, if you do not want to receive future e-mails from me, please respond to this e-mail with REMOVE in the subject line and I’ll take you off my list.
I hope to send out another e-mail next month!