Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ranting about maps

Both as a Canadian who has enjoyed the rants of Rick Mercer and as someone who spent a lot of time working with geographers at the Atlas of Canada (and even enjoying some of it!), I am appreciating the convergence of these two things as embodied in the self-described rant by Martin Dodge and Chris Perkins (Reclaiming the map: British Geography and ambivalent cartographic practice )

In their rant, the Royal Geographical Society ("the heart of geography") is roasted for using a ("Mc-Map") Google Maps location map on the back of the RGS-IBG 2007 Annual International Conference programme.

While concerned with this and the apparent decline of mapping in geography (Geographers Don’t Map Anymore Do They?) and the sub-discipline of cartography (Cartographers: Who Needs Them Anymore?) I think their conclusion that mapping is actually easier and possibly better and making a popular and significant resurgence (Mapping Reinvigorated?) through mashups (including Google Maps), Open Source tools, open geographic data sets, etc is valid. Unfortunately --as they point out -- this amateur mapping is happening without the participation or even notice of -- (in this case, British) academics.

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