The simplicity of mashing date with maps has seen them popping up all over the place recently leading to "Google Map fatigue" amonst many of us. This was a great session on how we can continue to be creative and innovate around map design. The panel looked at how we move beyond the simple pin-dropping style and demoed a compelling range of mapping innovations. Typically Michal Migurski from Stamen had all the best tricks up his sleeve.
One of the most interesting areas of discussion was around how we can deal with changes to location on maps over a period of time. Migurski showed off the London 2012 Olympic Map that he’s been working on. He dealt with the problem of mapping an area that will change dramatically due to construction by adding a timeline at the bottom. Dragging the timeline will show the stadium as it is being built with photos as and when they are added. Viewing the map in 2012 and and dragging the timeline back will show the stadium being 'unbuilt'.
There was also a really nice map on mysociety.org showing 20km round the BBC Television Centre. By adjusting the sliders you can see areas within varying travel times to work mashed with varying house prices then merged into zones in a way that you could never do with a load of pins. The dragging of the sliders and the merging of zones was a strangely pleasant experience when compared to many of the maps we see today.
I really liked the areyousafeatlanta.com iPhone app for it's simplicity. The app lets you see how safe you are at all times based on your location within the city. A quick tap displays a threat meter of your safety level along with hyperlocal crime data broken down by type. Great for getting up to the minute crime data (updated dynamically) visualised in a really simple but effective way. What I also like about this, which wasn't really mentioned is that it mashed location and data without actually displaying it on anything that resembles a map. I'm sure that you can but threat meter is cool alternative.
If you want more examples of maps discussed in this session you can find them all tagged sxsw+neocartology on delicious.