Doug Specht delivers keynote speech about making equality in maps at Government Geography Profession annual conference

8 December 2021
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Doug Specht, Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Media and Communication, gave a keynote speech about seeing and making equality through maps at the Government Geography Profession (GGP) annual conference.

The Government Geography Profession was established in 2018 to support geographical expertise across the public sector and is part of the Civil Service and the Geospatial Commission. Specht’s keynote speech formed part of the Government Geography Profession’s annual conference, which was attended by over 200 people from across the UK civil service and public sector.

The talk, entitled ‘Mind the Gap: Seeing and making (in)equality through maps’, took London’s famous underground map as its starting point to explore how we measure inequality. Specht has also covered this topic in his recent blog post for Geography Directions. The blog outlined the extension of the London Underground network to Battersea in September 2021, was part funded by the companies developing the area, which Specht said “brought the developers considerable influence on decisions that have since had an input on mapmaking and social equality alike.”

Throughout the talk, he looked at how the way we map our towns and cities can reveal inequality and also produce new inequalities. He also looked at good practices in mapping, as well as some that are less so, and discussed what can be done by geographers and cartographers to address some of the issues that are currently present in the sector.

In his concluding remarks, Specht discussed how we may be better off mapping the futures we want, rather than the present that we have.

Talking about the event and his talk, Doug Specht said: “It was a great honour to be invited to help close this year’s GGP conference. The establishment of Government Geography Profession and the Geospatial Commission is hugely important in ensuring that geographic and spatial knowledge is given the recognition it deserves. The conference theme on (in)equality further reinforced the importance of geography in being able to understand and tackle some of the world’s most significant social and environmental concerns.”

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