EveryBlock talks about their online maps

EveryBlock launched end of January as a geo-referenced news and data aggregation platform in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.

The site attempts to answer one deceptively simple question: “What’s happening in my neighborhood?” For EveryBlock, it boils down to three types of information: geographically-relevant news and blog entries, civic information, and “fun from across the web.” (via TechCrunch). 

They received over $ 1m in last years Knight Foundation News Challenge in competition with our iCommunity.TV.

Besides the huge potential and the interesting ambitions of this endeavor, their online maps caught my attention. Unlike most other spatial web applications, they didn't build a mashup using base layers from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft.

 

With Google Maps or any other web-based mapping service, we’d be limited to the color palette, typeface, and other design elements that service’s designers chose. While those maps can be handsome products, their choices aren’t our choices, and don’t mesh well with our site’s aesthetics. Additionally, maps are fundamentally layered — eg., a parks layer sits on top of a streets layer, which sits on top of a cities layer, and on down. Maps can be composed of many such layers, up to a dozen or more. The maps from Google Maps, however, don’t let us choose which layers we receive. They are “collapsed” down into a single image, one that is well-designed for general purpose, but one that includes layers we’re not interested in displaying.... (via their blog)

 

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