CartoDB, GIS, and Corpus Linguistics

Since reading Hardie & Gregory’s 2011 article titled “Visual GISting”, I’ve been pursuing integrations of GIS and corpus linguistics. My initial maps are not incredibly dynamic (just plots of place names in a corpus), but I’ve had great fun exploring CartoDB and Google’s Fusion Tables. Certainly CartoDB is the better of the two, but it’s possible the options you’ll desire will require a fee. Fusion tables just isn’t close functionally or aesthetically, and I’m concerned to go too far with Fusion Tables because Google may just suspend the service (remember Google Wave?).

I do think there are interesting research directions to be pursued with GIS and corpus linguistics. I’ve been working to develop what I’m calling a taxonomy of ecological deixis markers. I’m developing a scheme to tag items in a corpus with GPS info and then plot in a GIS. Yes, place names are obvious and are somewhat easy to plot. It takes some time extracting and matching with a gazetteer but not too difficult. The next level is plotting deixis relationships, or something I’m thinking of as ecological deictic density. Not totally fleshed out but working with environmental texts and considering variation in usage of geographical names, geographical terms, cardinals, and other referentials.

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