Renovating the mapping process

Modern mapping ‘neo-geography’ does not serve to tell us where we are, but instead, we tell maps where we are and they form around us on the fly, the so-called ‘crisis maps’. This change, started by the introduction of Google Earth and Google Maps, may bring such informal data collection processes of Web 2.0 together with the formal world of for instance topographic maps. Two projects are addressed: the data and workflow and the map design. In this joint effort, ITC and UT will join to allow integration of methods and techniques.

Project 1: the data and workflow organization for crisis maps

The data and workflow project intends to organize data flows based on formal and informal sensor data and to prepare for an interactive and dynamic ‘crisis’ map. The data flow will be dynamic and irregular in content, quality, geographic spread and temporal distribution than in the past. The projects concerns to include streaming and GIS data into this data flow. In the Web 2.0 world workflows are not standardized and much more dynamic than among established and existing agencies. Evolution of the ‘new’ data flows will affect the data quality of dependent data flows in particular if informal and formal data flows have to be combined to dynamically react to a crisis situation.

Project 2: map design for neo-geography

The map design uses the advanced “overview first, zoom/filter, and detail on demand” visual representation. Resulting visualizations allow insight and support decision making on the level of the expert and on that of the politician. Map design in a neogeography environment requires innovation of the traditional approaches, as the resulting maps have to select from reality and abstract this selection through well designed symbolization. Maps are thus characterized by their relative emptiness, a visual hierarchy and a particular appealing style. Various aspects concerning the validity of traditional assumption are investigated and experiments should be executed to judge the impact of the effects discussed above.