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#16
Nick Springer

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I was refering to cartographer as someone who regularly produces maps and understands the particular design issues as well as the geographic issues.

I don't exclude people who aren't degreed in geography or cartography. The turtles, etc. I was refering to are the designers and others out there who have no mapping experience that are asked to produce a map and don't understand the principles.

Time and time again I see maps that were clearly produced by someone that 1) has little understanding of map design and/or 2) little geographic knowledge or understanding. I imagine a magazine design director who needs a map saying "just get Bob over in design to crank it out, it'll be fine, he's a designer."

Nick Springer

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#17
Derek Tonn

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I was refering to cartographer as someone who regularly produces maps and understands the particular design issues as well as the geographic issues.

I don't exclude people who aren't degreed in geography or cartography.  The turtles, etc. I was refering to are the designers and others out there who have no mapping experience that are asked to produce a map and don't understand the principles.

Time and time again I see maps that were clearly produced by someone that 1) has little understanding of map design and/or 2) little geographic knowledge or understanding.  I imagine a magazine design director who needs a map saying "just get Bob over in design to crank it out, it'll be fine, he's a designer."


Yep. I agree with you 100% with everything you just said, Nick! If folks are "just getting it over to Bob to crank it out" though, then we've got one of three problems (my original point):

1. Our work doesn't stand out from all of the other "noise" out there for persons in need of map design to choose from, or

2. We're too expensive for the value that prospective clients would place on either the quality of our work OR for the level of importance that a GREAT map vs. a good/so-so map has to their constituents, or

3. They don't know we exist as a viable and attractive alternative.

For very few of us, essentially the folks just getting started in professional map design and learning the difference between GREAT design and "good" design, #1 might be the issue. However, for the VAST majority of us here, I think the problem is either #2 or #3. #2 is essentially a business model/strategy problem, while #3 is most-DEFINITELY a marketing problem! Partnerships and collaborative efforts can address both of these potential stumbling blocks, so the more "back-scratching" we can all do for one another in effort to survive and thrive, the better.

I don't nearly have all the answers on this subject, because if I did, I'd be retired and doing only pro-bono work for special "needy" clients and/or the really FUN projects for the rest of my life! :lol: That being said though, I've spent the better part of the past 2-3 years of my professional life working HARD on these types of issues, so I hope I have something of value to contribute to these particular types of topics. PLEASE tell me to put the muzzle on if I'm becoming a bit unbearable to read though! I could write 2-3 pages a day under this particular thread, as it goes to the very core and passion for who I am as a person/professional working in this industry..... :P
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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http://www.mapformation.com

#18
burwelbo

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Just a few comments

I think it would be a great idea to see a seperate section on the business of cartography and/or a projects or proposals section. I had also looked at the consortium business model but more from a Project Team perspective. The consortium would work under a banner name. If a project was found, a project team would be formed and they would bid together on the project. I was the GIS/RS expert but there was also a plant biologist/RS person, a land use planner and we were looking at many other roles (geologists, geomorphologists, soils, etc). Our primary target market was the environmental and natural resources sector but I didn't want to limit it to those markets.

If someone like Derek would want to act as a Cartography services sales rep and independent map publisher I think it would be a great idea. I would gladly pay a fee for someone to market my services and maps. I could see that working really well. After you found a potential client you could post it on your web site. Then subscribing members would log in to view opportunities and provide a bid. You would then charge some kind of finders fee. It wouldn't even have to be cartography. It could involve many different spatial disciplines (Remote Sensing, Database Design, GIS Services). The only problem I see is the potential for bad work so a good web site with work examples and references would be key. I am working on mine and hope to have something up soon with my CV and samples.

As for the topic on graphic designers vs geography well I think we can all teach each other things. I would like to learn alot more about how to do GREAT graphic output. What printers, paper, plot resolution, 3D terrain visualization, etc.. As a gegrapher (don't cringe) I feel I have alot to offer in terms of datums, projections (from the international perspective), remote sensing and data modeling/design. I view the spatial sciences as a wide range of disciplines (Project Management, Remote Sensing, Database Management, GIS analysis, Application Development and Cartography). Lately, cartography has become the area I have become the most interested.

Just my thoughts

Bruce

#19
Derek Tonn

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If someone like Derek would want to act as a Cartography services sales rep and independent map publisher I think it would be a great idea. I would gladly pay a fee for someone to market my services and maps. I could see that working really well. After you found a potential client you could post it on your web site. Then subscribing members would log in to view  opportunities and provide a bid. You would then charge some kind of finders fee. It wouldn't even have to be cartography. It could involve many different spatial disciplines (Remote Sensing, Database Design, GIS Services). The only problem I see is the potential for bad work so a good web site with work examples and references would be key. I am working on mine and hope to have something up soon with my CV and samples.


Bruce,

Thanks for your post! Sorry it took me a week or so to respond....my wife and I actually just welcomed our second daughter into the world on January 25....so between work, being a parent "times two" and being sleep-deprived, I am a bit behind on some of my communications. :P

I am always flattered when anyone out there would consider our firm as a potential for marketing their unique mapping services! We've had five independent designers (excluding my wife and I, of course) join forces with us so far....and are always looking for more people we can work with as well. Our theory continues to be "strength in numbers".....and as a result of our collaborative efforts over the past few years, our amount of project leads and contracts have exploded in size.

The trick to making any type of relationship like this successful is that costs and benefits make sense for both parties. There has to be enough "value" in the relationship on both sides of the equation for it to make sense (and have any hope of surviving over the long-term). For our designers, it has essentially worked out to be:

BENEFITS:
- Less time and money spent on sales and marketing
- More leads/projects/$$$

COSTS:
- Autonomy (projects are generally branded as 'tonnhaus' projects)

One of our "contractors" is actually graduating-up to a full-fledged 50% partner in a new virtual tours venture that we will be involved with beginning in 2006, and I have actually been considering "selling" a piece of our ownership stake to a few of our other designers on-staff as well! A lot of our folks get VERY "comfortable" with the idea of my wife and I footing 100% of the expenses associated with promoting the business, however, which makes them shy away from wanting an ownership stake.

Anyway, if anyone out there is considering "joining forces" and/or would be interested in giving "mapformation" (our new corporate identity....as soon as I finish our behemoth of a new web site, LOL) some strong consideration, I would recommend quickly reviewing the following information:

http://www.tonnhaus....us/strategy.htm
http://www.tonnhaus..../employment.htm

Sorry for another LONG reply from me! I LOVE this thread topic though...as I truly believe consolidation, partnerships and collaboration will be the key to all of our long-term survival in the field of map-making in the years to come.

Derek
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#20
frax

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I don't have anything to add, but congratulations on the daugther Derek!
Hugo Ahlenius
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#21
Hans van der Maarel

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Yes, congratulations, Derek.

Don't worry about making long posts, I always find them very insightful.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#22
DaveB

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Nothing to add, but congratulations!

As for long posts, yours are well-thought and well-written. No need to apologize.
Dave Barnes
Esri
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