About collaborative cartography

(via) New Scientist has a very pertinent article about map hackers (like Jo Walsh who use GPS to build their own maps.

ARMED with a Global Positioning System receiver and a pair of itchy feet, Jo Walsh walks a different route around town each week. She is slowly but steadily building a digital map of her neighbourhood in Bristol, UK. In doing so, Walsh is reinventing the pioneering spirit, for she is one of hundreds of people using cheap, off-the-shelf satellite tracking equipment to make their own maps.

The principle is simple. Set your GPS receiver to record longitude and latitude at frequent intervals during a walk, bike ride or car trip, then download the information to a computer and watch as it traces out your journey on screen. And by combining data from various trips, you'll get a rough but usable digital map of the world you live in. "You just need a GPS receiver and data cable and then anyone can do it," says Walsh's husband and collaborator Schuyler Erle

Let's then quote their book: Map Hacks, a must-read for map hacker wannabees. The collaborative map field appears to be booming, it's funny that there were no talk about it (as well as about locative media) at eTech 2005. Maybe, as Jo said in the Locative mailing list it's because it's now no longer emerging but people begins to really use it! OK so now collaborative cartography is not just a trend, it's used; which is good. I see many interesting domain in which it could be useful, ranging from educational purposes (learning how to map, discovering areas...) to more serious issues (for firefighters and deminers for instance)

Douglas Rushkoff in the Feature also deal with that issue. He underline the very thriving "collaborative map/cartography" community and also claim that the wireless industry is not so much into it.

Although media artists are desperately in love with the possibilities afforded by locative media, sadly, the mobile phone industry outside of Japan and South Korea hasn't exactly warmed to the nascent field. The Mapping Hacks trio's list of demands from operators and manufacturers includes low-cost location lookups, user access (through the phone) to everything that his phone knows and open hardware and software platforms for experimentation and innovation. All of these comprise a fairly reasonable wish list, but considering the conflicting interests of the many links in the mobile value chain, the operative word is still "wish." (...) nd until locative media applications offer wireless providers or phone manufacturers a genuine competitive advantage in the way that, say, driving maps do, a future of collaborative cartography may have to wait until kids raised on GPS crayons are running the world.