Seoul Libre Maps

Seoul Libre Maps proposes ways to overcome the social, technological, and political restrictions related to online map-making. Using open data and open-source mapping tools, the project aims to reexamine the role of maps as commons.

The emergence of the Google Maps and the popularization of the smartphones have rapidly shifted the ways we consume geographic data. Open geospatial data platforms such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) has dismantled the geopolitical authority which the maps during the Cold War had acquired, and therefore enabled general public to be engaged with digital maps in variety of ways beyond passive reading. However, Seoul is excluded from this trend because of the limited, government controlled access to geospatial data due to its political surroundings. This excessive control, manifested through oligopoly of large internet corporations, resulted in online mapping services that are tied strictly to their business plans, ultimately resulting in proprietary maps as opposed to the free (libre) maps which anyone can access and alter without any restriction.

Seoul Libre Maps consists of a series of two-day workshops, lead by artists, designers, and engineers, to advocate for independent mapping practices. Participants of each workshop will be creating their own maps with the themes provided by the facilitators, using various online and offline tools. All the geographic data generated during the process will be made public through OSM database, in the hopes to foster independent map-making and to increase awareness in free (libre) maps as commons.