Neocartography: Opportunities, Issues and Prospects

  • W Cartwright


The general re-thinking about how to create and distribute information in a Web 2.0 communications world has changed how the general community thinks about information discovery, access and provision. They can now use consumer electronic devices to record, photograph, locate and map  information without the need to consult a professional surveyor, geospatial analyst or cartographer. The traditional model of formal - mainly  governmental - collection, storage and publishing of information is now complemented by a less formal and more personal data collection and publishing model. This includes geospatial information. This type of mapping has been called the ‘GeoWeb’, ‘Volunteered Geographic  Information’ (VGI) and ‘crowdsourcing’. From a cartographic perspective this type of mapping can be termed ‘neocartography’. Neocartography  facilitates data capture, processing and publishing using social software, available via Web 2.0. It empowers individuals – everyday citizens – to map their community, contribute to national and international mapping activities and to build and make freely available geospatial databases and publish their maps in a collaborative manner. This paper addresses how neocartography, and the use of social software on everyday consumer  electronic devices might be integrated with mainstream surveying and  mapping practices to provide products that might be otherwise impossible to deliver due to economic and logistic situations. Neocartography is not about further developing or improving existing approaches, but about looking altogether differently at how data is collected, assembled, analysed and presented. It first provides an overview about how those involved in neocartography collect, store and generate cartographic products that  supplement or complement their more conventional counterparts. It then addresses the opportunities, issues and challenges for the cartography and giscience community that neocartrography poses.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2225-8531