Posts tagged as "soc"

Crowdsourcing Cartography Critiquing

Even if you're not a cartographer, when you first see a map there's almost always a gut feel for whether you like a map or whether you don't. Critiquing a map is a deeply subjective thing. You may not know why you like a map but you can tell whether the map's cartography works or it doesn't work, for you at least.

The image at the top of this post is a great example of what I mean by this. It's a map of Berlin on the inside of an umbrella. Which is a great idea and this map is one I'm very fond of, both because of the time I spent in Berlin and because it was a present from one of my old HERE Maps team. But as a map, it's far from pleasing to me; I love what's being mapped, I just think it needs a better cartographer.

So much of what appears on today's digital maps is crowdsourced. Whether it's a totally crowdsourced map such as OpenStreetMaps' or a more focused effort such as HERE's Map Creator or Google's Map Maker, the so called wisdom of the crowd is an integral part of so many maps. But what would happen if you tried to crowdsource the critiquing of maps rather than the map itself?

Society of Cartographers Redux

To be filed under the "slightly self promoting" department, earlier this year I was invited to speak at the Society of Cartographers Summer School in Manchester, UK. It's always great to be invited to speak at a conference but I was particularly excited by the SoC. The geo world I inhabit is one of data, APIs, platforms and data mining and aggregation techniques. Sometimes the map gets lost in all of this. So it was an honour to speak at an event where it was all about the map. The Summer School was written up in November's edition of the SoC Newsletter which is only available to society members, but with permission I've reproduced below the sections of the newsletter which cover my involvement.

Talking GeoBabel In Three Cities (And Then Retiring It)

You're invited to speak at a conference. Great. The organisers want a talk title and abstract and they want it pretty much immediately. Not so great; mind goes blank; what shall I talk about; help! With this in mind, my first thought is normally "can I adapt, cannibalise or repurpose one of my other talks?". This sometimes works. If there's a theme which you haven't fully worked through it can serve you well.

But a conference audience is an odd beast; a percentage of which will be "the usual suspects". They've seen you talk before, maybe a few times. The usual suspects also tend to hang out on the conference Twitter back channel. Woe betide if you recycle a talk or even some slides too many times; comments such as "I'm sure I've seen that slide before" start to crop up. Far better to come up with new and fresh material each time.