There is so much map data in the world that it's quickly becoming overwhelming. Aesthetics is something that is largely overlooked in mapping, according to Eric Rodenbeck, founder of Stamen Design. The San Francisco based company just launched Map Stack, a free service that allows user to customize the look of their maps and highlight what's most important to them.
In an interview with GigaOm, Rodenbecko provided some insights into the future of maps.
"The amount of data is increasing all the time," he told GigaOM. “If we don’t think about aesthetics, we’re doomed to make conclusions from that data that other people want us to make...
If you look at a map of Amsterdam on Google, it looks like a freeway around some canals,” he said. “My experience with Amsterdam has more to do with canals than freeways."
The application allows users to change colours of highways and roads, and place locations and buildings in the background or foreground, not completely unlike programs such as photoshop.
With Google's recent acquisition of Waze (a crowdsourced mapping application, made famous for its excellent alerts and directions) it looks as though users will have a considerable amount of control over their maps, especially with the rise of crowdsourced data.