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The Democratization of Cartography

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Schulyer over at Mapping Hacks provided a talk at a Norwegian conference entitled “The Democratization of Cartography.” The slides from the presentation are posted online. Though the speaking notes are absent, one can still infer from the slides what the talk was about. The trend of cartography - or, shall we say, map-making - away from being a slow and specialized process to one that almost anyone can engage in is nothing new (something, I’d like to say, I indicated in my talk at the Canadian Cartographic Association’s annual conference in 2004).

Coming from a European perspective, Schulyer suggests that geo-spatial data should be viewed as other physical infrastructure is: necessary, expensive and something the marketplace might not be able to completely provide. Instead, like roads and streets, the majority of geospatial data should be provided free to all. Only the really good stuff would cost - similar to accessing toll roads. It’s an interesting concept and one worth exploring.

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