Originally posted on :

Maps have changed.

Cartography used to be fairly simple and largely a novelty:

Portolano

Unimaginable to the users of that Genoese world map from 1457, today’s maps are used daily by hundreds of millions of ordinary people around the globe to accomplish what’s now regarded as pedestrian tasks, like 3D flyovers:

Flyover nyc

Indeed, in the post-PC era maps have ceased to be cartographic snapshots of the Earth’s terrain and become spatial portals to a vast array of virtual services:

  • Wayfinding — In the not-too-distant future, the principal feature of maps may no longer be wayfinding. Yes, we still want to go from A to B and know where B is and what’s around it. Today, however, we also want to know not just what, but who among our social network is around B, even before we get there. And we want to know not just how to get to B, but by…

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