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Our future in web-mapping-Collaboration?

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Poll: The roles of Cartography in Web-Mapping

Are web-maps sufficiently meeting the needs of cartographers?

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Should cartographers play a more active role in developing new cartographic principles that are aligned to new advances in technology?

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#1
A. Fenix

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    Analisa Fenix

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Hello fellow map-oholics,

I'm working on a presentation for the up-and-coming PDX Cartography Symposium and I am hoping for a little early feedback. In my presentation I plan to raise the battle cry that cartographers need to become more actively involved in helping to shape the future of web mapping (i.e. multi-scale, multi-layer, real-time, pannable and completely end-user configurable maps...). As Matt Perry my programming colleague mentioned, these future capabilities "...present a different challenge since you don't know what the user will try to create. The possibilities are basically infinite and the 'interactive cartographer' needs to consider them all." With this in mind, during my presentation I'd like to give fellow cartographers a few ways to reach out and get involved with the programmers that are developing the tools that we are more and more depending on in our trade. In other words, I'm hoping that one of the messages that they take away from my talk is that cartographic principles (based off of 2D and single scale maps) need to evolve with the technology. In order for this to happen, we need to work with programmers in order to have a higher standard of cartographic capabilities and functions built into the tools and/or have cartographic voices assist in how the resultant maps will look. Hopefully you, my esteemed colleagues agree with me on this one. If not, please share your opinions! If, however, this makes sound sense to you then please share any suggestions for appropriate forums (obiviously cartotalk will be on the list!), etc that you may know of.

Thanks in advance for comments/thoughts.

Happy Mapping!
Analisa Fenix
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#2
David Medeiros

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Hi Analisa, great topic! I'm currently working on a graduate seminar paper examining traditional cartographic standards against modern mapping technologies, looking for the areas of largest concern and emergence of new issues unique to modern mapping. My focus is really more on GIS production rather than web mapping but I think a lot of the issues may overlap.

From my perspective most of the worst offenses in web cartography stem not from missing "web cartography standards" as much as ignorance of basic visual communication principles. That said, I think there are special issues for dynamic mapping and there is a role for cartographers there to help establish workable standards. For cartographers it's important to take note of the very different way in which most dynamic maps are used. Traditional cartography looks at information density and tries to find ways of easing the complexity and enhancing the maps message through generalization or abstraction. With the ability to utilize the map in an exploratory mode, where the map reader drills down into progressively detailed layers, there is a need to understand how to successfully mix various data scales and adapt the abstraction process not so much to clarify a message but to emphasize the multi-scale/multi-layer nature of the data.

Wish I had known about the Cartography Symposium. I'm coming up to Oregon in a few weeks to visit family and do a little job hunting and would loved to have attended.

David

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#3
dsl

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You might suggest that they get involved in one of the open source mapping platforms that are popular.

Mapnik probably tops the list. Polymaps is one developed by stamen design. Or something like OpenLayers. I think it is worth noting that you don't have to be a programmer to volunteer for open source projects...

Cheers,
David

#4
A. Fenix

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    Analisa Fenix

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Thank you both for your swift and thoughtful replies. It's a complex issue, one that I haven't thought about in great depth since I am more of a traditional cartographer. Over time, however, the requests for my involvement in web-mapping applications have increased exponentially. While I love technology and utilize it every day, the web-mapping world has seemed somewhat alien to me since it involves programming skills which I am still developing (somewhat begrudgingly at that). With this said, while I was putting together this ppt I realized that many of my examples of new avenues for conservation and social justice cartography involve web-maps. Hence, this post is the result of my initial thoughts on the matter. I greatly value your feedback and look forward to reading your paper David. Also, thanks for the valuable suggestion on cartographers involving themselves more in the OS world dsl. One of the presentations at the symposium is titled "Open-source tools for cartography" by Rafa Gutierrez, which I'm excited about.

Be well,
Analisa Fenix
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#5
David Medeiros

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Analisa, your lament about the requirement to develop web and programing skills is very familiar! I think we must have similar backgrounds, I think of myself as a digital cartographer but one who works primarily in static and publication mapping (even when dealing with analytical GIS work). I am also seeing an increase in requests to port my knowledge to dynamic or web map applications and have somewhat reluctantly moved in that direction. I see the tremendous opportunity and flexibility in web mapping but the programming requirements remain an obstacle. The rigidity of programming is somewhat antithetical to the creative nature of mapping and that presents an issue for a lot of us I think.

Depending on my level of shame, I may or may not post my seminar paper here once completed ; ) but it will probably end on my website by the end of December.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#6
A. Fenix

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Analisa, your lament about the requirement to develop web and programing skills is very familiar! I think we must have similar backgrounds, I think of myself as a digital cartographer but one who works primarily in static and publication mapping (even when dealing with analytical GIS work). I am also seeing an increase in requests to port my knowledge to dynamic or web map applications and have somewhat reluctantly moved in that direction. I see the tremendous opportunity and flexibility in web mapping but the programming requirements remain an obstacle. The rigidity of programming is somewhat antithetical to the creative nature of mapping and that presents an issue for a lot of us I think.

Depending on my level of shame, I may or may not post my seminar paper here once completed ; ) but it will probably end on my website by the end of December.


Definitely sounds like we're cut from the same cloth :) I was just looking into a couple of promising examples of dynamic mapping options that seem to have a lot more promise on the cartographic side: indiemapper and tilemill. I'm looking forward to experimenting with both.

cheers!
Analisa Fenix
GIS Manager/Chief Cartographer
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#7
MapMedia

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Great point. I would strongly encourage map makers interested in staying current and working on web projects to learn a programming language or two, so they can build their own map tiles and interfaces.




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