Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Map Styles and Usability: Please Help

I've been away for a couple of weeks, and I'm now catching up with what's been going in the Geo blogging community. I saw a couple of posts on the Google Maps API new styling features:

There were more of course, but Steven Romalewski and Richard Treves raise some good points about usability. We've basically provided no guidance on usability of the new styles. The examples that we provide are designed to show extremes of styling to get the point across.

The truth is, we're mostly engineers, not cartographers. I'd love to see some great guides to how to style your map. Anyone want to give it a go? Anything good out there, I will make sure we link to it and talk about it.

To be fair, Steven is also concerned that it'll actually drive more people to use Google Maps API. His concern, our hope of course :-). He is concerned that this will reduce the commitment to other mapping platforms and perpetuate a mono-culture of maps. I don't see any danger of that right now, but I do appreciate that concern. Competition is good for us, it does help drive us to better things. So Cloudmade, Bing, OSM, everyone else, please make your mapping better. It helps us too.


Seagor said...

I'd recommend folks check out AxisMap's reincarnation of Cindy Brewer and Mark Harrower's ColorBrewer http://colorbrewer2.org/.

You can pull your colors out as RGB, HEX, and CMYK

Sromalewski said...

Thanks Mano. Glad my comments on the new map styles are appreciated.

Btw, I had mentioned ColorBrewer in response to Ed Parsons' blog about same, and at his request reached out to Cynthia Brewer to suggest a collaboration. Have yet to hear back. I think ColorBrewer + Map Styles would be a powerful combination.