Should Cartography be Invisible?

A few years ago, I came across this fascinating insights from a cartographer, discussing Google’s (then) immense lead as compared to Apple Maps. When Apple Maps was first released, it was a laughing stock of the cartography community because of just how bad it’s accuracy was. Over the years, Apple has been hard at work updating their maps, but Google has been no slouch. In fact, Google has made significant strides as well.

These few deep dives are an inside look into the world of cartography. As a user of maps for all sorts of navigation and planning purposes, including for aviation, I was genuinely surprised about the incredible extent to which maps affect our understanding of the world around us. Each product gives a different interpretation.

And that includes the raw experience of just flying over the world in a planeā€”no labels anywhere to be seen. Just the beauty of the Earth and the impacts of humanity.

Dossier

“Google Maps’s Moat,” by Justin O’Beirne, 2017. https://www.justinobeirne.com/google-maps-moat

“Apple’s New Map,” by Justin O’Beirne, 2017. https://www.justinobeirne.com/new-apple-maps

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