Friday, 17 April 2009

Virtual Globes are a good idea for thematic mapping

It's important to seriously discuss and measure the quality of different thematic mapping techniques. I appreciate the critique from Dr. Mark Harrower on the Axis Maps Blog. I encourage everyone to read Mark's blog post - it's an interesting and timely read. This is a quick response to this critique - more blog posts will follow.

In short, I agree with most of the arguments put forward, but I disagree with the conclusions:
  1. I agree that my 3-D graduated symbol maps are "pure chart junk", but there are some good examples of 3-D symbol maps. (See previous blog post)

  2. I disagree that 3-D prism maps are chart junk - but thematic world maps on a 3-D globe are problematic. (See previous blog posts: [1], [2], [3]).

  3. I very much disagree that Virtual Globes are a bad idea for thematic mapping, but it's certainly not the only or the ultimate way of showing thematic maps.
I hope more people will engage in this important debate. What is your opinion about 3-D visualisations?

Update 28 April: This issue is currently debated on Axis Maps Blog, Google Earth Design and PTS Blog.