Nick Lally

npla224's picture
  • Assistant Professor
  • Geography
  • New Maps Plus
  • New Mappings Collaboratory
  • Social Theory
805 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Ph.D. Geography, University of Wisconsin–Madison
M.F.A. Digital Arts and New Media, University of California, Santa Cruz
B.S. Sociology and Fine Arts, University of Oregon


My research both describes how we come to know the world through computation and offers other possibilities in the form of creative software interventions. It is through this tacking back and forth between critical making and critical theorizing that I show how geospatial software produces and modulates the spaces of everyday life. In my qualitative fieldwork, I study how computer programmers, academics, scientists, and government actors in the US and UK build and use software to inform political decision-making. Currently, I am writing about how predictive policing software systems are being integrated into infrastructures of governance. I also build software for visualizing relational, topological, and non-Euclidean spaces as a means to expand the creative and critical possibilities for Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


Selected Publications: 


Lally, Nick. Forthcoming. “What can GIS do?” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies. DOWNLOAD (pdf, preprint)

Lally, Nick. 2022. “Sculpting, Cutting, Expanding, and Contracting the Map.” Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization 57 (1): 1–10. [email me for a copy]

Lally, Nick. 2021. ““It makes almost no difference which algorithm you use”: on the modularity of predictive policing.Urban Geography: 1-19. DOWNLOAD (pdf)

Lally, Nick and Luke Bergmann. 2021. “enfolding: An Experimental geographical imagination system (gis).” In A Place More Void, edited by Paul Kingsbury and Anna Secor. University of Nebraska Press. [email me for a copy]

Bergmann, Luke and Nick Lally. 2021. “For geographical imagination systems.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers. DOWNLOAD (pdf)

Lally, Nick, Kelly Kay, and Jim Thatcher. 2019. “Computational parasites and hydropower: A political ecology of Bitcoin mining on the Columbia River.” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. DOWNLOAD (pdf)

Vincent, Kristen, Robert E Roth, Sarah A Moore, Qunying Huang, Nick Lally, Carl M Sack, Eric Nost, and Heather Rosenfeld. 2018. “Improving Spatial Decision Making Using Interactive Maps: An Empirical Study on Interface Complexity and Decision Complexity in the North American Hazardous Waste Trade.” Environment and Planning B, 18. 

Lally, Nick. 2017. “Crowdsourced Surveillance and Networked Data.” Security Dialogue 48 (1): 63–77. DOWNLOAD (pdf)

Thatcher, Jim, Luke Bergmann, Britta Ricker, Reuben Rose-Redwood, David O'Sullivan, Trevor J Barnes, Luke R Barnesmoore, Laura Beltz Imaoka, Ryan Burns, Jonathan Cinnamon, Craig Dalton, Clinton Davis, Stuart Dunn, Francis Harvey, Jin-Kyu Jung, Ellen Kersten, LaDona Knigge, Nick Lally, Wen Lin, Dillon Mahmoudi, Michael Martin, Will Payne, Amir Sheikh, Taylor Shelton, Eric Sheppard, Chris W Strother, Alexander Tarr, Matthew W Wilson, and Jason C Young. 2016. “Revisiting Critical GIS.” Environment and Planning A 48 (5): 815–824. DOWNLOAD (pdf)



Lally, Nick, Elsa Noterman, and Keith Woodward. 2020. “Madison’s Race to Inequity.” Abolition Geographies Collective.

Lally, Nick. "A Snapshot of Corporate Profiling." Report for Privacy International: London, UK.

Lally, Nick and Ryan Burns. 2017. "Toward a Geographical Software Studies." Special Section Introduction, Computational Culture: a journal of software studies.

Lally, Nick. 2017. Review of Understanding Spatial Media by Rob Kitchin, Tracey P. Lauriault, and Matthew W. Wilson, eds. Environment and Planning: Urban Analytics and City Science.

Lally, Nick. 2017. “Cloud Vision.” Places Journal. Featured Reading List.