My new word for the day is “maptivism.” I discovered this in a blog post about digital mapping. OK, I didn’t just “find” it. In the typical social media information seeking mode that predominates these days, I was pointed to it by a Twitter post from Kevin Anderson @kevglobal, who will be a keynote speaker at Internet Librarian International this coming October.
But I digress. Nancy Scola, who wrote the blog post, gives many examples of how maps enhance our understanding of the news and of statistics. A map can make truths visible that aren’t so obvious from the rows and columns of a spreadsheet. The post is replete with map examples, from Japan after the earthquake to US school systems.
It strikes me that the biggest change in map making is interactivity. I used to rely on AAA for road maps. They were large, unwieldy and annoying. Now I use online maps, where I can zoom in and out, get directions and print just the part I need on one sheet of paper. I’m sure I’m not alone. But the ability to create maps, that maptivism thing, adds a new dimension to the work that information professionals do.
In that vein, I’m looking forward to Chris Sherman’s talk at WebSearch University where he’ll talk about maps. I’m wondering if he’ll declare himself a maptivist?