Are We Mapping Too Much?

A look at what happens when everyone maps

By Lindsay Tilton

The world of mapping has grown substantially in the past decade. As more online tools and apps have popped up on the web, more users have become interested in geography and are quick to lend a hand in editing maps. Whether it’s drawing a trail in a neighborhood or labeling retailers in a local town, mapping has become a passionate hobby for many.

However, an article in The Atlantic asks the question: What happens when everyone makes maps? Because anyone can map using the many available online tools, such as OpenStreetMap, the role of cartographer may be slowly diminishing. A cartographer, known as someone skilled in interpreting 3D to 2D and proficient in software like JavaScript and Python, is becoming a "dying breed," according to the article. Because online platforms handle the technical aspects of mapping, this leaves room for users to map as creatively as possible without having to learn the skills of cartography. 

In a related article from Wired, the author suggests people love to map because it helps them think spatially and view how things relate to each other. Furthermore, it helps people make sense of the world and even inspires more creative thinking.