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Introducing mappery


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#1
dskendall

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Hi everyone,

I am excited to introduce my new site mappery (http://mappery.com) to the Cartotalk community.

From http://mappery.com/about.php

“mappery is a diverse collection of real life maps contributed by map lovers worldwide. For the first time it allows people to easily find relevant and interesting maps of yet unknown places by visually browsing a larger context. mappery makes it easy to find and explore maps by keyword, location, or simply by browsing a map. It includes tourist maps, ski trail maps, college campus maps, national park maps, transportation maps, theme park maps, battlefield maps, and many other types.

I created mappery to provide a way for people to "discover" maps in new ways by applying the Web's very unique ability to surface new places and things. mappery makes it easy for people to find maps not only of familiar places through specific searches, but also to discover maps of yet unknown places by visually browsing a larger context. All maps are tied to the actual locations that they cover and are identified with keywords.

For example, if someone wants to visit a state park with great hiking trails in their area but has never heard of the nearby Big Basin, mappery lets them browse all state parks in the region on a larger map and, in effect, discover Big Basin’s trail map. Then to learn more, they can click through to the source site to get the full information. This brings more visitors to the original site coming in sideways through a visual browse, not only through explicit purpose-driven searches. Additionally, categorizing maps in other meaningful ways, such as by activity or other relevant keywords, also helps bring people to the maps best suited for them.

My hope is that these ways of presenting and organizing maps in an aggregated, contextualized way will help make looking for maps both more efficient and more fun. I believe this pull for users to browse "to see what's out there" will happen when many maps can be found in one centralized place, instead of in separate silos across the web.”


mappery is still in its early stages, but I want to share my thoughts on how I plan for mappery to benefit cartographers, cartography firms, and members of the Cartotalk community.

1. Bring public recognition to great maps. mappery can serve as a compelling showcase for cartographers and map owners to post samples of their maps. mappery plans to prominently feature great maps as determined by the community. This will honor and bring some well-deserved recognition to great map making.

2. Generate business leads & sales revenue for cartographers for their maps and services. Every map has a link back to its source site. Potential customers can discover map samples on mappery and then go visit the sources of select, favorite maps – to buy existing maps or look for custom cartographic services. Those visitors going to cartographers' sites from mappery would be compelled by a specific interest in one of the featured maps, so likely would drive a high conversion rate.

3. Share ad revenue with cartographers. This is something I want to add in the future as the traffic approaches a level that makes it valuable to advertisers. Having several maps aggregated and contextualized in one place (and technically tagged for high search result positions) will help bring about a critical mass of traffic that would not be possible scattered throughout in silos across different sites. In the future, with more features that surface compelling maps and bring more momentum to the site, I believe mappery can share this additional revenue source with cartographers.

I would love to hear any ideas the Cartotalk community has to improve the site from both the cartographer and the public user perspectives.

And of course I would be excited for any of you to add your maps to the site. Please note that lower-resolution samples are fine as long as they are legible since I am trying to keep a minimum level of quality on the site. Also, please contact me through the site if you would like your maps to be featured in a special section of the site to be built out shortly.

Thanks,

Scott

http://mappery.com

Edited by dskendall, 13 February 2008 - 09:52 AM.


#2
Unit Seven

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Just a quick note that your link has a colon at the end which stops it from working.

Good work—one quick idea would be to place the georeferenced raster maps in as a layer. I think this is not too difficult with google maps and would give a good representation of how the map fits in. Would need some thought on display scales etc though for each map. I'll have a good look at the site once I have more time.

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#3
dskendall

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Thanks, I fixed the link!

Thanks for the idea, the way I have handled sizing up a map so far is by saving the zoom level on the Google map that roughly corresponds to the map area. This is really crude and I hope to improve it, potentially by implementing something like you propose.

Another feature that I forgot to mention below: In addition to the source name and source link, I will be adding a separate field for map author (i.e. cartographer). This will allow additional searching and surfacing paradigms.

Scott
http://mappery.com

#4
ELeFevre

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Thanks, I fixed the link!

Thanks for the idea, the way I have handled sizing up a map so far is by saving the zoom level on the Google map that roughly corresponds to the map area. This is really crude and I hope to improve it, potentially by implementing something like you propose.

Another feature that I forgot to mention below: In addition to the source name and source link, I will be adding a separate field for map author (i.e. cartographer). This will allow additional searching and surfacing paradigms.

Scott
http://mappery.com


Hey Scott,
Great site. I'm sure I'll have some feedback once I get a little more free to time to dig around. Your in my bookmarks!



#5
ac_geographer

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I really like the site a lot. I've already sent the link to several people and they all have nothing but great feedback about it.

Most of the people I did send it to so far are mostly GIS students or new to the GIS world and are very eager to become proficient as a cartographer. I would suggest giving the map authors the opportunity to put down comments and share their methodology when creating their maps. I think it would be a great tool for younger cartographers to learn new techniques and improve their skills

#6
dskendall

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Thanks everyone for checking out mappery and sending it around. Great idea about adding a place for methodology/comments, thanks! I hope to add something like that in the future.

Scott
http://mappery.com

#7
frax

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Hi Scott - looks cool! Unfortunately I don't have the time/energy to add maps right now, but if you set up an API, I could synchronize a database with mappery. (or if you prefer, I could prepare a database dump for you)

My main problem with your service is that you don't see the footprint of the map, just an icon. Which works fine for street maps, (small) park/trail maps and ski maps, but not for most thematic and political maps. (I think you also need a better interface to define the footprint of a map, like drawing a box in google maps).

I found the Yahoo MapMixer vision a bit intriguing, to have a seamless cover of end-to-end maps of all kinds - georeferenced together. Instead this is just a map interface to a catalogue of maps (which is not bad in itself though!).

I also find the zoom levels and the icons inconsistent. From the global map I see an icon for some map for the Helsinki archipelago (quite large scale), but not the icon for a map over the whole of Sweden, that I see after I zoom in more.

I am not sure that the map interface is the easiest and best for all kinds of maps - but you are offering other ways (category, search).

I would be interested to see how this develops, and I think you still are below a critical mass of maps and visitors to place this firmly on the Internet.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#8
dskendall

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@frax, thanks for the great feedback! I will try to incorporate these ideas in the next version.

Scott
http://mappery.com

#9
frax

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At the site that I have been working on - http://maps.grida.no (an archive of maps and graphics from my office of the UN Environment Programme) - we have also played with search by geography.

It is a bit toned down, and I don't think that many people use it, but each graphic in the database have their approximate footprint recorded (lat-long), and the heat map on the front page is prepared that way (the global/world maps are problematic). The geographic searches are approximate, and should include everything in that box. There are currently "zoom in" and "zoom out" links on the bottom of the geographic search results pages, but I will remove them (might be removed when you read this) since it was hard to calculate that accurately. Example of geographic search - Arctic

For your site - one aspect that you may want to consider is the search engine friendliness - it would probably be good for traffic if you could pick up traffic for a geographic area that has several maps.

Another suggestion - for just browsing I think it would be fun to explore the graphic power of maps more, in some way (don't know how exactly though). And maybe even the relationship between different maps in your database (tags, geography, description, author etc).

Just some idead!
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
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