Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time

All Maps Lie: Critical Introduction to Mapping

NYU, Interactive Telecommunications Program, Spring 2020

Link to the course listing
Category: 2 Point, All, Elective
Tags: maps, geospatial, geography, data, cartography



All Maps Lie is a critical introduction to cartography and mapping from the perspective of media art and creative technology. In this course, we will reflect on and respond to different "geographic prompts" that allow us to discuss the history, theory, and practice of mapping. By engaging in "mapping" and the various methods of "making sense of geography" we will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for critical geographic histories and politics and the "situatedness" of knowledge and power. Students will be challenged to articulate the value, limitations, and possibilities for media arts practice to contribute to the critical cartographic discourse through their projects.

Students taking this course can expect to gain an appreciation for geographic thinking, learn to ask critical and geographic questions, and apply basic methodologies to “make sense” of geographic data.

The course will be conducted with open source tools and technologies. Students are not expected to enter the class with knowledge of these tools, but will be expected to learn and apply them through studio exercises and project briefings.


Info Detail
Instructor Joey Lee
Instructor Email
Instructor Github @joeyklee
Class Day Monday
Class Time 6:30 - 9:00
Class Room Room 411, 370 Jay Street, Brooklyn Will meet remote via Zoom
Class Dates Mar 30 - May 11


Office hours are by appointment. Please see the office hour offerings. You are also welcome to meet with ITP Residents.

Info Details
Office Hours 3:30-6:30pm, TUE & THUR OR By Appointment
Location ITP FLOOR or ITP RESIDENT'S OFFICE via Zoom or Google Hangouts
  • NOTE: If you can't make those times, please send me an email and we can chat at another time or via video conference.


Hey! We're on Discord. This will be the place for any informal chatter and Q&A. Please sign up and tune in!

To my students: Please jump into your group's respective channels!

  • Block 1
    • Group A: Paper Town
      • Max
      • Ji
      • Caleb
      • Paulami
    • Group B: Bermuda Triangle
      • Winnie
      • Emma
      • Julian
      • Ruixian
  • Block 2
    • Group C: Null Island
      • Guillermo
      • Sydney
      • Monni
      • Martin
    • Group D: Mind Map
      • Karina
      • Tirta
      • Tianxu
      • Pablo



Each day at ITP and every session of this course, we are gathered on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous land of the Lenape and Canarsie peoples. I ask you to join me in acknowledging the Lenape and Canarsie communities, their elders both past and present, and their future generations. I acknowledge that whether intentionally or through ignorance, NYU and ITP was founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land this institution is located.

This acknowledgement demonstrates a commitment to reckoning with the history of the land upon which we are gathered and beginning the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.

We start this process through building our own awareness and appreciation for the land we are able to live, work, and play on and integrating these awarenesses into the art we make, the tools we build, and the work we do.

References: Jer Thorp's Land Notice &


  • To practice paying attention:
    • The class will be grounded in developing strategies to "pay attention." Through your sustained mapping and data collection efforts as part of this course, you will tune into the frequency of the world and learn to focus in on the details that might be otherwise overlooked or intentionally suppressed, repressed or erased. You will ultimately learn how "paying attention" is a crucial skill for critical engagement with mapping and media art/design practice more broadly.
    • references: How to win the war against seeing, How to do Nothing
  • To ask geographic questions:
    • You will learn that everything is spatial and that geography matters. To ask geographic questions means you will not only be asking questions about space (physical, topographic, infrastructural) and place (cultural, affective, emotional) but also history and power and how geography is shaped by and and comes to shape power.
  • To explore spatial media:
    • This course is structured around "making/doing/mapping" as an approach to working through key concepts related to critical cartography and the topic of critique more broadly. By creating work that explores spatial media -- media/technology/data about geography -- we humbly acknowledge that our media art and design approaches to mapping are valuable, limited, and affective all at the same time. We therefore attempt to make contributions to the discourse of mapping and geography as "outsiders" or, rather non-domain experts.
  • To learn together:
    • This is a course about learning together. You will be confronted by challenging concepts, technical road bumps, and the winter cold. A core outcome of this class is to share your learning and discoveries and research with each other.


WEEK 01 MAR 30 Everything is Spatial Setting the stage Open Office Hours
WEEK 02 APR 06 Thinking out place Overview of spatial data Block 1
WEEK 03 APR 13 Thinking out space Overview of thematic mapping Block 2
WEEK 04 APR 20 Locative Media What are opportunities for rethinking geographic interaction & experiences? Block 1
WEEK 05 APR 27 Figure-Ground How do we see geography from afar? Block 2
WEEK 06 MAY 04 Experimental Geography How do we situate our spatial media practice? Open Office Hours
WEEK 07 MAY 11 Final Class How do you map? Open Office Hours


The course is structured around one project described in detail here in the Final Project Brief. Each of the assignments will be part of this larger project briefing.

Final Project Brief MAR 30 - MAY 11 Final Project Atlas Course Project Briefing
A1 APR 06 Scavenger Hunt Begin Data Collection, Project Proposal
A2 APR 13 Map Mashups Intro to Web Maps, Project Proposal
A3 APR 20 Spatial Abstraction (Ab)using Geospatial APIs
A4 APR 27 Locative Media Put Yourself on the Map
A5 MAY 04 Spatial Gaze Looking up and looking down
A6 MAY 11 Documentation Synthesis & Documentation for Zine

All assignments will be submitted here:

💌 Google Form Assignment Submission

Evaluation & Grading

Students will be evaluated on effort, personal progress and growth, class participation, assignments, and the final project. It is understood that this course will be technically and conceptually challenging, therefore your effort, curiosity, and engagement is of utmost importance. You will be graded on your progress throughout the class, your ability to complete assignments on time, your interaction with peers, and your ability to justify your decisions thoughtfully.

Notes can be found at this url on How to give Feedback


Here is a basic breakdown of graded tasks along that trajectory:

  • 10% Attendance/Participation
  • 60% Assignments
  • 30% Final Project Documentation
  • TOTAL: 100%

Here's an outline of how your work will generally be evaluated. The explaners of each category are rough guidelines for how I assign numbers (or quantify 😉) to the work you are producing in this class. Inspired by cmda-tt course.

Category 1 - 2 pts 3 - 4 pts 5 - 6 pts 7 - 8 pts 9 - 10 pts
Quality The work is handed in late, broken, incomplete, undocumented, or shows lack of care or thought The work is only partially documented and seems only partially complete The work is documented and represents the student's concept and shows good effort The work is well documented, thoughtful, and professional The work shows mastery and is well polished
Understanding There is either no substance or the student cannot explain or justify decision making The work shows partial grasp of the concepts, but shows major gaps that could be addressed with more thought The work is sensible and grounded and can be explained in a coherent manner The work represents the concept well, references past and current work. The student can speak to more than 1 perspective. The work shows strong graps of concepts and the state-of-the-art. The work is well received in both concept and implementation
Application The work reflects very little conceptual references to the course materials; a general lack of awareness to methodology and implementation The work applies methodology(ies) that have some potential, but not quite relevant or effective The work uses methods that are appropriate and thoughtful. The application of methods are standard and show good potential The work uses methods that are appropriate, thoughtful, and well implemented. There are innovative ideas that are shown in the application. There work shows careful methodological considerations and is beautifully crafted, designed, and presented.


The general policy is that late assignments will not be reviewed.

As such, here are my general suggestions for working on projects and assignments (in this class and beyond):

    1. Always have something to show: While developing your projects, always have a "minimum reviewable unit" that speaks to your project concept. Even if your project doesn't technically "work", you should always have something to present.
    1. Submit on time and refine: Submit what you have on time. If you followed suggestion #1 above, then you'll have material to discuss and explain where you're at and where you're trying to go. You can always refine and update what you have even after the deadline, but if you have nothing to show, then your effort cannot be evaluated and improved.



Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as though it were your own. More specifically, plagiarism is to present as your own: A sequence of words quoted without quotation marks from another writer or a paraphrased passage from another writer’s work or facts, ideas or images composed by someone else.


The core of the educational experience at the Tisch School of the Arts is the creation of original academic and artistic work by students for the critical review of faculty members. It is therefore of the utmost importance that students at all times provide their instructors with an accurate sense of their current abilities and knowledge in order to receive appropriate constructive criticism and advice. Any attempt to evade that essential, transparent transaction between instructor and student through plagiarism or cheating is educationally self-defeating and a grave violation of Tisch School of the Arts community standards. For all the details on plagiarism, please refer to page 10 of the Tisch School of the Arts, Policies and Procedures Handbook, which can be found online at:


Please feel free to make suggestions to your instructor about ways in which this class could become more accessible to you. Academic accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities at 212 998-4980 for further information.


Your health and safety are a priority at NYU. If you experience any health or mental health issues during this course, we encourage you to utilize the support services of the 24/7 NYU Wellness Exchange 212-443-9999. Also, all students who may require an academic accommodation due to a qualified disability, physical or mental, please register with the Moses Center 212-998-4980. Please let your instructor know if you need help connecting to these resources.


Laptops will be an essential part of the course and may be used in class during workshops and for taking notes in lecture. Laptops must be closed during class discussions and student presentations. Phone use in class is strictly prohibited unless directly related to a presentation of your own work or if you are asked to do so as part of the curriculum.


Tisch School of the Arts to dedicated to providing its students with a learning environment that is rigorous, respectful, supportive and nurturing so that they can engage in the free exchange of ideas and commit themselves fully to the study of their discipline. To that end Tisch is committed to enforcing University policies prohibiting all forms of sexual misconduct as well as discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. Detailed information regarding these policies and the resources that are available to students through the Title IX office can be found by using the following link: Title IX at NYU -


Course Repository for "All Maps Lie": Critical Intro to Mapping






No releases published


No packages published