To me, this issue seems like a potential POSTER-CHILD for "Ockham's Razor". Testing the "theory" of what to name ourselves could simply be a matter of a series of focus groups where you put a group of clients, potential clients and users/consumers of our services in a room, then see what they have to say about how they would describe our services. We might have day-long seminars at NACIS to discuss how we might define ourselves in the greater design and cartography landscape. However, the longer I have been doing what I do, the more I try and "meet individuals where they are at", as opposed trying to CHANGE them into sharing my own world view.
A perfect illustration of this, to me, is "3D perspective" maps. That's what we call them anyway, since we are depicting the width, length AND height (X, Y and Z) of our subject matter (as opposed to planemetric mapping, which only depicts width and length...although 90+ percent of the planet would probably give you that blank "deer in headlights" stare if you mentioned planemetric mapping to them...but I unfortunately assume that a lot of us LIKE it that way, as it makes us feel just a bit more smart/superior). Other names I have heard for "3D perspective" mapping include:
- bird's eye illustration
- "illustrated" (the most vague term, which I personally dislike the most)
...among others. So, which label or descriptor is "correct?" I think the answer is simple: the one which the individual(s) we are speaking with can best relate to and understand.
Adapting ourselves and our own points of view to meet the world around us, rather than spending SO much time and energy trying to force the world around us to change to meet us. If a client of ours wants to call a "3D perspective" map illustration "Bird's Eye" or "Larry", I personally don't care. As long as we can understand what one another wants/needs/means, Bird's Eye or several other labels are just as accurate and useful as several other labels they might use (maybe not "Larry" though, LOL). Besides, the more I brow-beat or critique their "label(s)" for me, the more arrogant I will likely appear....and the (probably) less likely they will be to want to work with me going forward.
Please don't think that I am not advocating "education" as part of our responsibilities as cartographers and map designers! Folks calling a map style "Larry" might need a little coaching!
All I am saying is keep the focus on meeting people where they are at, rather than forcing them to to concede to our own biases and world view.