Operating anew: Queering GIS with good enough software

Jen Jack Gieseking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In the last decade, conversations around queering of GIScience emerged. Drawing on literature from feminist and queer critical GIS, with special attention to the under-examined political economy of GIS, I suggest that the critical project of queering all of GIS, both GIScience and GISystems, requires not just recognition of the labour and lives of queers and research in geographies of sexualities. Based upon a queer feminist political economic critique and evidenced in my teaching critical GIS at two elite liberal arts colleges, I argue that the “status quo” between ESRI and geography as a field must be interrupted. Extending a critical GIS focus beyond data structures and data ethics, I argue that geographic researchers and instructors have a responsibility in queering our choice and production of software, algorithms, and code alike. I call this production and choice of democratic, accessible, and useful software by, for, and about the needs of its users, good enough software.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Working with Eileen Johnson at Bowdoin, I was able to obtain complete public datasets from the City of Portland’s data for the college’s use. Trinity education professor Jack Dougherty led me to the UCONN Map and Geographic Information Center library that contains vast amounts of state and city data. Along with Eileen and Jack, I express my sincere appreciation to Crystal Hall at Bowdoin College; Caitlin Cameron from the City of Portland; Cheryl Cape, Carol Clark, and Carlos Espinosa at Trinity College; and Jennifer Cassidy from the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association for their contributions to these courses. My work in Hartford is possible thanks to a Community Learning Initiative grant from Trinity College. My deepest gratitude goes to my students in both classes who went on these wild adventures with me, and to Frank Donnelly and the people who coded QGIS who made such learning possible. Finally, I am deeply thankful to Karisa Butler-Wall and Ellen Randall, as well as the anonymous reviewers and special editors of this issue, for their insightful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Canadian Association of Geographers / L'Association canadienne des géographes


  • QGIS
  • critical GIS
  • free and open-sourced software (FOSS)
  • pedagogy
  • queer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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