Wednesday, 7 November 2012

GPS and cartography

With GPS and online maps, the problem of brainlessly getting yourself from A to B is basically solved. But that's not the only function of cartography. Maps are a form of communication, and sometimes they work best when they are not geographically accurate. For example, take a look at your local public transport maps. Chances are, they're quite stylised, because we find it easier to understand them that way. So while we might think that cartography as a profession is a bit threatened by satellite photos and GPS, it really just releases cartographers from the most boring, straightforward part of their jobs, and lets them focus on the more interesting parts.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Sometimes a better map leads to better ideas.
PPS - As in this TED talk where a better public transport map required better a public transport design.

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