Matthew Zook

  • Professor
  • Fulbright Scholar, University of Tartu, Estonia, 2013-2014
  • Geography
875 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 218-0955
Other Affiliations:
  • FloatingSheep
  • Big Data & Society: Critical Interdisciplinary Inquiries
  • Oxford Internet Institute, Visiting Fellow
  • GeoHumanities
Research Interests:

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. (Berkeley, CA) 2001.
M.R.P. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) 1995.
B.A. Earlham College (Richmond, IN) 1989.


For the past several years I have studied how the geoweb is produced (particularly the practices surrounding user-generated data) in order to better understand where, when, and by whom geo-coded content is being created.  I focus on how code, space and place interact as people increasingly use of mobile, digital technologies to navigate through their everyday, lived geographies.  Of special interest is the complex and often duplicitous manner that code and content can congeal and individualize our experiences in the hybrid, digitally augmented places that cities are becoming. 

As an economic geographer I also study how flows of material goods in the global economy are shaped by immaterial flows of information.  Just as the global financial system is enabled by the materiality of high-speed fiber optic cables laid across the ocean, so too are the movement of cargo containers dependent upon the halo of virtual information that surrounds them as they move through space. My interest is in the range of ways in which material and virtual flows are intertwined: sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory, but always central to the evolution of spatial relations in the economy.

The FloatingSheep research blog provide an overview of this work, particularly some of the more quirky dimensions that are hard to place in more mainstream academic outlets.  After all, the Internet (and information space more generally) can be a wild and woolly place.

I am also the Director of the The DOLLY Project (Data On Local Life and You) is a repository of billions of geolocated tweets that allows for real-time research and analysis.  Building on top of existing open source technology, DOLLY ingests all geotagged tweets (~8 million a day), does basic analysis, indexing and geocoding to allows real-time search throughout the entire database (3 billion tweets since Dec 2011). DOLLY also forms the basis for establishing the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky as a key center for critical research on big geosocial media data.  We see DOLLY as both a key tool for our own work but also as a means to break down the technological barrier that is often present for researchers that would like to study big data but do not necessarily possess the required technical skills.

Most recently I joined the editorial team of the new journal, Big Data & Society: Critical Interdisciplinary Inquiriesan open access peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes interdisciplinary work principally in the social sciences, humanities and computing and their intersections with the arts and natural sciences about the implications of Big Data for societies. The Journal's key purpose is to provide a space for connecting debates about the emerging field of Big Data practices and how they are reconfiguring academic, social, industry, business and government relations, expertise, methods, concepts and knowledge.

Selected Publications: 

Most citations are linked to the article. (my full Google Scholar Profile)

Zook, M., and M. Grote. (2016). The Microgeographies of Global Finance: High Frequency Trading and the Construction of Information Inequality. Environment and Planning A. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X16667298
Zook, M. (2016). Information Flows, Global Finance and New Digital Spaces. Chapter for the New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography. 
Zook, M., Poorthuis, A, Donohue, R. (2016). Mapping Spaces: Cartographic Representations of Online Data. Chapter for the Handbook of Online Research Methods second edition
Poorthuis, A., M. Zook, T. Shelton, M. Graham and M. Stephens. (2016). Using Geotagged Digital Social Data in Geographic Research. Book chapter Key Methods in Geography (3rd edition)
Zook M, T Shelton, A Poorthuis, R Donohue, M Wilson, M Graham, M Stephens. What would a floating sheep map? Lexington, KY: Oves Natantes Press, 2015.
Zook, M., Kraak. MJ. Ahas, R. 2015. Geographies of Mobility: Applications of Location Based Data. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. Vol.29 (11).
Graham, M, Sabbata, S and M. Zook. (2015). Towards a Study of Information Geographies: Immutable Augmentations and a Mapping of the Geographies of Information. Geo: Geography and Environment. DOI:10.1002/geo2.8/epdf
Ahas, R., Yuan, Y., Smoreda, Z., Aasa, A., Raubal, M., Liu, Y., Ziemlicki, C., and Zook, M. (2015). Smart Timing for Smart Cities - Developing indicators for measuring social time from mobile phone datasets, a Case study of China, Estonia and France. International Journal of Geographical Information Science. DOI:10.1080/13658816.2015.1063151
Shelton, T., A. Poorthuis. Zook, M. (2015). Social media and the city: Rethinking urban socio-spatial inequality using user-generated geographic information. Landscape and Urban Planning. pp. 198–211 doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.020
Shelton, Taylor Matthew Zook and Alan Wiig. (2014). The ‘actually existing smart city’ Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. doi:10.1093/cjres/rsu026

Zook, M., Graham, M, and A. Boulton. 2014. Crowd-Sourced Augmented Realities: Social Media and the Power of Digital Representation. Chapter in S. Mains, J. Cupples, and C. Lukinbeal. Mediated Geographies/Geographies of Media. Springer Science International Handbooks in Human Geography.

Graham, M. and Zook, M. 2014. Augmentierte Geographien: Zur digitalen Erfahrung des städtischen AlltagsGeographische Rundschau. 65(6) 18-25.

Zook, M. and T. Shelton. 2014. The Internet and Global Capitalism. Encyclopedia Entry for Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography.

Zook, M. and A. Poorthuis. 2014. Offline Brews and Online Views: Exploring the Geography of Beer Tweets (maps available here). Chapter in M. Patterson and N.Hoalst-Pullen Geographies of Beer. Springer. Forthcoming

Shelton, Taylor, Ate Poorthuis, Mark Graham, and Matthew Zook. 2014. "Mapping the Data Shadows of Hurricane Sandy: Uncovering the Sociospatial Dimensions of ‘Big Data’". Geoforum 52: 167-179. 

Graham, M, Zook, M. and A. Boulton. (2013). Augmented Reality in the Urban Environment: Distorted Mirrors and Imagined Reflections. Transactions in British Geography.

Jeremy W. Crampton, Mark Graham, Ate Poorthuis, Taylor Shelton, Monica Stephens, Matthew W. Wilson and Matthew Zook. (2013). Beyond the Geotag? Deconstructing “Big Data” and Leveraging the Potential of the Geoweb.  Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS) 40 (2), 130-139. 

Poorthuis, A and M. Zook.(2013). Spaces of Volunteered Geographic Information. Ashgate Research Companion on Geographies of Media (P. Adams, J. Craine & J. Dittmer eds.)

Zook, M. (2013). Making Currency Personal: The Salutary Tale of the Downfall of the Domdrachma.  Chapter in The Immersive Internet (Robin Teigland and Dominic Power Eds.) Palgrave. 238-246.

Boulton, A and M. Zook. 2013. Coding cultural geographies: landscape, locative media and the map.  Chapter in Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Cultural Geography. N. Johnson, R. Schein and J. Winders (eds.) 437-451.

Graham, M. and M. Zook. (2012). Augmented realities and uneven geographies:  Exploring the geolinguistic contours of the Web. Environment and Planning A. 45 (1), 77-99. - Awarded the Ashby Prize by Environment and Planning A for the most innovative paper of 2013

Shelton, T, Zook, M. and M. Graham. (2012). The Technology of Religion: Mapping Religious Cyberscapes. The Professional Geographer. 64(4) 602-617..

Roberts, S., Secor, A., and M. Zook. (2012). Critical Infrastructure: Mapping the Leaky Plumbing of US Hegemony. Antipode. Vol 44. 1. pp. 5-9.

Zook. M. (2012). The Virtual Economy. Chapter for The New Companion to Economic Geography (Eds. J. Peck, T. Barnes and E. Sheppard).

Zook, M and T. Shelton. (2012). The Integration of Virtual Flows into Material Movements within the Global Economy.  Chapter in Cities and Flows (P. Hall and M. Hesse Eds.) pp. 42-57.

Graham, M and M. Zook. (2011). Visualizing the Global Cyberscape: Mapping User Generated Placemarks. Journal of Urban Technology. 18(1). 115-132.

Zook, M., Graham, M., Shelton, T. and S. Gorman. (2010). Volunteered Geographic Information and Crowdsourcing Disaster relief: A Case Study of the Haitian Earthquake. World Health and Medical Policy. Vol 2(2).

Crutcher, M. and M. Zook. (2009). Placemarks and Waterlines: Racialized Cyberscapes in Post Katrina Google Earth. GeoForum. 40(4). 523-534

Dodge, M., Kitchin, R. and M. Zook (2009). How does software make space? Exploring some geographical dimensions of pervasive computing and software studies (Guest Editorial). Environmental and Planning A. 41(6). 1283–1293.

Zook M. (2009). Internet, Economic Geography. In Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Volume 5, pp. 555-561. Oxford: Elsevier.

Zook M, Dodge M. (2009). Mapping, Cyberspace. In Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Volume 6, pp. 356-367. Oxford: Elsevier.

Dodge, M. and M. Zook (2009). Internet Measurement. In Kitchin R, Thrift N (eds) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, pp. 569-579. Oxford: Elsevier.

Zook, M. and M. Graham. (2007). The Creative Reconstruction of the Internet: Google and the Privatization of Cyberspace and DigiPlace. GeoForum. Vol. 38(6). 1322-1343.

Zook, M. and M. Graham. (2007). Mapping DigiPlace: Geo-coded Internet Data and the Perception of Place. Environment and Planning B. 466-482.

Grubesic, T. and M. Zook. (2007). A Ticket to Ride:  Evolving Landscapes of Air Travel Accessibility in United States Journal of Transportation Geography. Vol. 15 (6). 417-430.

Zook, M. (2006). The Geographies of the Internet. In Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST) ed. B. Cronin. Volume 40. 53-78.

Zook, M and S. Brunn. (2006). From Podes to Antipodes: New Dimensions in Mapping Global Airline Geographies. Annals of the Association of America Geographers. September. 471-490.

Zook, M.A. (2005). The Geography of the Internet Industry: Venture Capital, Dot-coms and Local Knowledge. Blackwell Publishers.

Zook, M.A.  (2004). The Knowledge Brokers: Venture Capitalists, Tacit Knowledge and Regional Development. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. (September): 621-41.

Zook, M.A., Dodge, M., Aoyama, Y., and A. Townsend. (2004). New Digital Geographies: Information, Communication, and Place. In Geography and Technology. Brunn, Cutter and Harrington (eds.). Kluwer Academic Publishers. 155-176.

Zook, M.A. (2003). Underground globalization:  Mapping the space of flows of the internet adult industry. Environment and Planning A. Vol 35(7). 1261-1286.

Zook, M.A. (2002). Hubs, nodes, and bypassed places: A typology of e-commerce regions in the United States. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie. Vol 93. No.5. pp. 509-521.

Zook, M.A. (2002). Grounded capital: Venture financing and the geography of the internet industry, 1994-2000. Journal of Economic Geography. Vol 2. No 2.  151-177.

Zook, M.A. (2001). Old hierarchies or new networks of centrality? The global geography of the internet content market. American Behavioral Scientist. (June). Vol 44. No. 10. 1679-1696.

Zook, M.A. (2000). The web of production: The economic geography of commercial internet content production in the United States. Environment and Planning A. Vol. 32. 411-426.  



Recent Publications
Enter your link blue username.
Enter your link blue password.
Secure Login

This login is SSL protected