Creating digital maps/issue maps/controversy maps is a long-standing activity at the médialab and at the core of its collaborative ecosystem with researchers in social sciences (see the FORCCAST project).
Drawing on this activity, the EMAPS project wishes to extend its ecosystem to actors with interests beyond academia, i.e. people, communites and institutions socially active in two different specific technoscientific issues : ageing (in the UK) and climate change adaptation (at the international level). The idea is to engage these actors in an ‘open-air’ experiment using the online interactive platforms designed within the project, since we believe that the involvement of different publics, whether scientists, journalists, activists, corporations or citizens, in these issues will come from favouring the political relevance of their disagreements through access to datasets and documentation, representation of the debates and their dynamics, etc. which digitalization now enables to map and share.
Apart from its interest to trace the heterogeneous networks inherent to scientific and technological issues, the project’s novelty is to question the process of co-production of digital tools/maps with users. Collaborative mapping activity constitutes an innovative way to approach an object-oriented politics. But how to actually collect and analyze data available out there to create change within the community who produces/uses these data is a huge challenge. It requires a sophisticated iterative process whose center point is design.
Financed in by the 7th European Framework Program (“Science-Society interaction in the digital technologies era” call for project), EMAPS is a three-year controversy-mapping project drawing directly on the results of the project MACOSPOL. EMAPS aims at assessing the opportunities and risks of online communication for the public debate of technoscientific issues.