Update: Andrew Turner has suggested "neocartographer" would be a better term than neogeographer in this post, I think he's correct based on this source.
This post is a follow up to a comment on yesterday's post about color blindness by Paul C, who can't read the 49. Color blindness happens to be the most effective way to explain why map makers (neogeographers, GISers and old school cartographers) need to know about map design. Paul asks why neogeographers aren't engaging in design to which a recent conversation is relevant:
A Developers View: In asking a developer friend why developers weren't thinking about map design, he answered that just getting the map to plot is usually what the client is asking for. Applying good design takes more development time and, in a process where unforeseen problems have already taken up time, the client isn't interested in the extra time needed for good design. Which reminds me of a fable:
Fable: Two blokes are lost in the African bush and they've just seen a hungry cheetah. One bloke starts to put on his running shoes. Other bloke says
'that's no use, a cheetah can outrun you no problem'. First bloke retorts:
'yes, but I only have to outrun you'.
Design as USP: In a world where you are the first person to mashup a couple of interesting data sets in a website, you'll get all the web attention. As the GeoWeb develops we can expect to see mashups getting ever easier to produce which will mean multiple overlapping mapping services appearing. At which time good design will be one way to add a USP (unique selling point) to your service.
Paul also asks what can be done about it. Well, this blog is an attempt and if I had the funding I'd be attending where 2.0 and other US conferences where neogegoraphers hang out.
BTW, I'd be intersted to hear if anyone out there counts themselves as a neogeographer and is applying the design best practices I've described in this blog.