Something Spatial: Visualizing Density | CitySMARTS

No doubt, the technology needed to generate maps is becoming increasingly more user-friendly through an assortment of web-based map-making technologies like Tile Mill, Leaflet, Google Maps, Google Fusion Tables, and CartoDB. With these technologies, anyone can upload geo-referenced data and share interactive maps with friends, co-workers and the public. For some, especially cartographers, this new trend is stepping on some toes within traditional academia. Eric Steiner – of Penn State fame – makes a salient observation about this phenomenon: “Traditional cartographers today might say some form of, ‘Kids these days, they don’t know the rules,’” says Eric Steiner, a former president of the North American Cartographic Information Society. “I hear that sometimes at conferences. People lament that there’s this huge influx of people doing cartography who aren’t cartographers.” By “cartographer,” they mean someone who is skilled in trade techniques like projection (transforming a globe into a flat map) or who knows how to interpret line weights. Instead, new cartographers are increasingly software engineers or developers using programming languages like JavaScript and Python. Steiner, himself a graduate of Penn State’s prestigious cartography program, sees the plurality of technique as beneficial. Whether a map is good or bad shouldn’t be based on the narrative of the individual making the map, he says, but rather on the map’s ability to evoke, inspire and question. Despite these new possibilities, there are still some limitations to how far one can get with these services. Although they provide the most basic answers in spatial analysis – representation of location – there is still some difficulty in answering more interesting spatial questions, like determining the extent to which certain spatial phenomena cluster. Being able to represent clustering – and the extent to which it is occurring – can enhance the power of the “citizen geographer.” Source.

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Last Modified: April 23, 2016 @ 7:01 am