Geography 970

March 22, 2010

WikiProject Maps

Filed under: Uncategorized — Daniel Huffman @ 12:34 pm

When I was first learning about cartography, I started making some terrible maps for Wikipedia (such as this one). I was interested in mapmaking, but had no idea how to go about it. Wikipedia, however, had a helpful group of pages to assist contributors in putting together cartographic content. I thought it would be fun to return there, years later, to see what they’re saying. This is a glimpse into the world of how cartographic amateurs think about maps — most of these people have no training, though they’re strongly motivated to learn.

The main page of WikiProject Map is here:

It’s rather impressive, actually — they’re running a pretty well-organized do-it-yourself custom cartography shop there. There’s an area to make requests, they’ve got spec sheets, and tutorials for Inkscape/GRASS/Gimp (unsurprisingly, ArcGIS and Adobe products are not the preferred software packages).

There are also appeals to Tufte (several maps are advertised as “chartjunk-free”).

I didn’t see any references to ColorBrewer, though some years ago it was on their page as an example of how to choose color schemes. But that was also before they started putting together spec sheets, so maybe people don’t have to think about that as much.

The map project page seems less overwhelming, to be sure, now that I have a better sense of what I’m doing. It actually seems very limited. There’s some attempts at cartographic education, but it’s more about how to do X in Inkscape, rather than why you should do X. This seems like a good community, for those of you interested, to get involved in. It’s full of people interested in maps, willing to learn, and whose work is going to be seen by thousands and possibly millions of eyeballs.


1 Comment »

  1. It’s good to see that these cartographic wiki communities are growing. It’s tempting to trust the cloud with . . . well, everything. But there obviously has to be a certain number of folks out there who CARE in order for this all to work.

    Comment by Tim Wallace — March 22, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

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