Ed goes on to say:
"That’s not to say the principals of design are not important in the creation of “maps” for screen display, indeed one could argue for the need of a "new" cartography which adopts rather than ignores the capabilities of screen based maps to portray information dynamically."If you're new to this blog: Over the last year I have been arguing on this blog for such a "New Cartography". I have discussed the principles of geo-web design (27 posts) by examining best practicises from cartography, GIS and web usability design. With Steve Chilton, Chair of the Society of Cartographers I've mulled over the relationship between cartographers, neo-geographers and the GIS community. And more.
Analogy with Animated Film: Ed goes onto to discuss an analogy between the geo-web and the development of computer generated animation:
"In the early 1990’s Disney Animation Studios was having great success with movies such as the Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Indeed they opened up an animation studio ... ... so that visitors could see animators working ... ...it was shut down in 2004, when Disney stopped it’s traditional animation efforts, as it began concentrating on its own computer generated efforts..."Its a good analogy to the development of the geo-web but a particular Disney film deserves further consideration:
Tron became a cult film because of its innovative use of computer animation and video game look. However, it actually doesn't use that much computer animation, traditional techniques were widely used and matching the new and old technologies together in one film meant it was actually more time consuming to produce than a traditional hand drawn animation.
Bad Use of Technology: My point is that the development of a new technology isn't a simple switch from old to new, as Tron shows there is often an intermediate phase where the new technology actually makes things worse before we learn how to really use the tools properly and reap the benefits. I'd characterize these periods as 'old', 'wrong' and 'right' and at the current time I think the geo-web is firmly in the 'wrong' part of the cycle because of a lack of understanding about design. Exactly the same situation occurred in the development of the web.
Wake up Cartographers: IMHO the BCS needs to think clearly about what it is saying, comments about the loss of churches on SatNavs is as silly as bemoaning the disappearance of chimney sweeps in an age of central heating. As Steve Chilton admitted in his interview with me about cartography and GIS:
"Cartographers in general did not interact with the GIS producers to influence these matters as software and techniques were developed, a certain conservatism and resistance to change was evident."if cartographers behave the same way about the geo-web and fail to shows understanding of its latest developments neo-geographers won't bother to listen to what they have to say about it and boy, do neo-geographers have an awful lot to learn about map design.
3rd Sep: since I wrote this post I've been in email contact with Mary Spence about the article. I'll add her email as comments so interested parties can see the exchange. She feels that her views were not well represented by the BBC. Rereading the 'wake up cartographers' section of this post I think I put my point too strongly, I didn't mean to insinuate that cartographers aren't up on the latest technologies, I should have limited myself to criticizing the message that appeared on the BBC.