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Ideas for Building the Cartotalk Forum

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#1
ELeFevre

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I thought a post where we brainstorm ideas on how to get more traffic and posters to Cartotalk.com would be a great idea. After all, forums are about sharing knowledge and every new contributor brings with them a unique perspective and skill set that we can use to better ourselves as cartographers.

Here are few ideas to start (they could be good or bad :blink:):

1) Create a resource page: I would list Universities who offer a program in Cart or GIS. All or most University departments have their own webpage. Email the webmaster of the Geography department (probably a student) and request a link in return. I will start this process by insisting the Cartotalk link gets added to my schools Geography webpage.

A list of resources could also be included below the adsense ads or in the footer of the forum pages.

2) Tutorials: Create and post tutorials on using AI, photoshop, Flash, et cetera, on popular webmaster boards such as www.sitepoint.com, www.flashkit.com, www.webhostingtalk.com (or on specific tutorial boards). There are very few tutorials on AI on the internet and there's a huge user base.
The techniques we use in cartography for creating and working with graphics are applicable to webdesigners and graphic artists. In return, we would be introduced to new techniques we could apply to print cartography and digital cartography.

3).....?
p.s. check out this LINK. Notice there is a perfect spot for Cartotalk link.
Erin

Edited by Points Lines Polygons, 16 December 2004 - 10:33 AM.




#2
Nick Springer

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Erin,

You rock! Thanks for starting this. University links is a good idea, I will work to create a list of geo programs (any volunteers to help compile the list for Europe or Canada - send me a PM or email).

I am starting to contact online GIS magazines and resources to see if I can get some links there.

The tutorial are a good idea as well. Now, we just have to come up with some more in general :)

I actually just removed the adsense ads today, because I felt they were detracting from the non-promotional nature of the board.

P.S. in ref. to your link - I emailed NACIS a couple of months ago to try to get on there, and got no response.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#3
ELeFevre

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Once you get the user base built up you can reintegrate adsense to help offset your bandwidth charges as well as put a few dollars in your pocket. At that point you could also start selling monthly text links. But I agree...for now it's best if the site remains commercial free. Public institutions will be much more inclined to link to a public resource rather than a business, at least initially.

I'll start collecting a list resources I think would be helpful and send it your way as soon as it's complete....Erin



#4
Hans van der Maarel

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You removed the Google ads? But one of them was mine... :(

Anyway, you may want to suggest this forum to Directions Magazine:
here
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#5
Nick Springer

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Funny you mention Directions Mag. I don't know if you get their newsletter but they featured one of my maps as the "map of the week" and I just emailed the editor who contacted me and asked if she would mention CartoTalk in an upcoming newsletter. No response yet.

Sorry about the ads, it was only generating about 1 cent a week so I thought that being ad-free outweighed the few pennies of support.

Nick Springer

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#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Nick,

I do get their newsletters and now that you mention it, I remember seeing your maps there. Don't worry about the ads. I don't think they're bringing in that many visitors to my site anyway.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#7
Kartograph

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How about producing some more content, before trying to get all those links placed ? It would be cool if there was one "magnet tutorial" as a "sell" point. Or at least something wothwhile here. Doesn´t have to be big, just enough to hang around. Obviously we were drawn in because of the cool idea of a cartography forum, but many people might want a bit more. The Map Gallery seems to be working out fine, so why not add another dimension to the forum ?
I would volunteer for writing a basic tutorial for AI or more complex ones for Freehand, CorelDraw or ArcGis .
Could be useful if we first decided which ones would be useful, and what form they should have.
I would suggest the tutorials should be task oriented like:
"How to digitize neighboring areas (example: political map of europe in 1688)" against
tool driven tutorials. Nick´s tutorial posted is very much the thing I´m talking about.
Nick made the same suggestion a while ago.

Just my 2 €Cents

Regards,

Andreas

#8
ELeFevre

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You could also look into running articles related to Cartography, GIS, graphic design, et cetera. Many times articles can be used for free as long as you cite the source and provide a link to the author...
Or you could write your own articles (Nick) or post quality articles submitted by professional cartotalk members. This would be a great way to get your user base involved and it would also encourage cartographers to join the fun. Lots of good content also means your going to rank high in the search engines and visitors are going to return.

I spend a lot of time hanging around webmaster forums and one of the methods they use to bring in new members or keep new members involved is through weekly or monthly competitions or contests. Maybe a monthy map design competion would be fun? These ideas are a little bit premature but they do work. People love contests and competion. Even if the prize is just recogniton on the main page of the site for a week... I'll keep thinking.



#9
Nick Springer

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Andreas,

You're right I need to add some more tutorials and I will very soon. I might distill the thread we had about Freelance Cartography a while back.

Erin,

Your idea of articles is a good one. I will talk to some of my professional friends and see if I can get them to contribute.

I have been think about the contest idea for a while as well. I was kind of waiting until we had a bit more traffic so it wasn't just 4 or 5 of us entering each time, but maybe that's what we need to drive traffic.

I'll keep think too. I actually have some time this weekend to spend on the site.

Nick Springer

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Nick,

Do you want articles written exclusively for the Cartotalk forum or (for starters?) can we link to articles written for other outlets (magazines)?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#11
Nick Springer

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Hans,

Anything would be great. I think it would be good if the article was "reprinted" here rather than just a link, so as Erin suggested, we would get better search results and longer visits.

I was thinking maybe I should add a specific "Articles" section.

Do you have something you wrote?

Nick Springer

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#12
Hans van der Maarel

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Nick,

Yes, I wrote something last year that could be interesting. I'll post a link to it for now:
article on Avenza site

It was originally written for the UK-based magazine Geoconnexion and appeared in the february 2004 issue. Then I wrote a slightly longer version of it for the Cartographic Journal of the British Cartographic Society, but unfortunately I never received a copy of that.

Mind you, this was written when I was busy in my previous employment. The system as described is still in use and several other cities have shown interest too.

I think an "Articles" section would be a good idea.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#13
ELeFevre

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Nick,

I agree, having a competion right now with only four posters would not be much of competion... and from the work I've seen so far from the three other people I would have to compete against, I would never win:) But it's definitley something that shoud be done in the future when the user base grows a bit. Anyways, get crackin on those articles! Erin






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