Train the map makers and educate the map users

Authors: Menno-Jan Kraak*, University of Twente
Topics: Cartography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Geography Education
Keywords: cartographers, education, map users, map makers
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The internet and mobile devices have resulted in a tremendous increase in maps created and used. Most of those maps are of the ‘where is it’ and ’how do I get there’ type. However, due to the role of social media and the habit to share we have also witnessed an increase in ‘mash-up’ maps made via on-line mapping tools.

It can be argue that the professional cartographic community cannot be against more maps. True, but the problem is that not all maps are necessarily good. That has to main reasons: the skills of the map makers and the default of the software used. Here a map maker is considered someone creating maps without a professional cartographic training.

How can we train map makers? Sending them back to class is unlikely. On-line open educational modules seem to be a viable option. Additionally, it would useful if the available software would explain their defaults and also offer suggestions and explanations during the map making process.

We also have to pay attention to the map users. A map user is considered to be a person using a map with an objective in mind. Do they really understand what they see? In other words, if they look at a particular map type do they realized how it works? Do they have a notion of design choices made? How do we make the map user aware of what they see? A solution suggested could be adding annotations or reading instructions.

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