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Maps Part 1: The Problem

Robert Scoble has an interesting interview with Chandu Thota about The Dealmap (recently bought by Google).

Although I completely take Thota’s point about APIs and 3rd parties, what strikes me is the apparently automatic assumption that using a map (and the now nearly ubiquitous Google API mashup) is the best way to show his data. It’s as if we are now locked into the idea that if we want to use information visualisation to discover things that exist in space, we must use a geographic map.

But there are clearly problems with this assumption. Firstly, using geographic maps to display things brings with it an amount of irrelevant data. What, for example, is the use of knowing that a school or a hospital exists near a shop offering 10% off a haircut? Does it matter that the road on which a crime has been reported runs north to south, or that there is a creek to the east of a hotel?

Continue reading Maps Part 1: The Problem