Deep Mapping: Creating a Dynamic Web Application Museum “Soft Power” Map


Dr Natalia Grincheva, Research Fellow, Research Unit in Public Cultures

Project Details

The project, ACMI on the Global Map, aims to employ Geographical Information Technologies to develop a pilot version of the digital mapping system “Museum Soft Power Map”. This digital system will provide a new computation research method to explore contemporary museums and geography of their influence. It will geo-visualise museum “soft power,” defined as an institutional ability to mobilise global public, generate economic activity and attract international investments.

The project brings together academics and 6 graduate students from the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne to collaborate with cultural professionals from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). It aims to trial a pilot version of the digital geo-visualisation system “Museum Soft Power Map” that will be fully developed based on the project’s results and findings. The pilot is a focused single-museum online tool to map and assess the ACMI’s “attraction power” in Melbourne and abroad.

Recently launched online, the 3D demo version of the program maps the ACMI collection’s Appeal Power in different countries. It considers cultural, linguistic and social demographic criteria including immigration statistics, tourism rates and internet penetration data to calculate Collection Appeal Power Index for each country on the globe. This map not only reveals where ACMI collections can have a higher potential for discoverability, visibility and appreciation, but also helps to explore various factors that affect this potential.

The Project received the 2018 Melbourne Engagement Grant, 2018 Award of the International Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations and 2017 Museum Computer Network Award, granted for developing innovative solutions to enhance museum transparency and strengthen proactive management in global PR. This research makes a significant contribution to the study of contemporary museums and facilitates a more nuanced contextual exploration of their impacts that can supply data for a more complex city-wide cultural research and planning.