Visualizing Privacy? Converting GPS information via Computer Mapping

In this paper, I examine how maps can play – or fail to play – a role in processing spatial information in legal environment. Digital cartography, especially GIS with GPS, has lately been getting more attention among public administrators as an ideal tool for effective governance. With its multiple functionalities, such as digital coding capabilities, database functions, and visualization capabilities, GIS is often critically seen as the embodiment of Foucault’s sense of rational governance and is often referred to as a tool for governmental power. As a visualized format, however, non-GIS-processed maps can also inspire investigators’ imaginations. Maps can be viewed as communication tools to circulate and exchange spatial data and ideas, not only among criminal investigators, but also among journalist and publics. In this sense, the primary interest of criminal investigators often lies in the communicative effectiveness of GPS.