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Mapping Hacks: Tips & Tools for Electronic Cartography

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Book Overview

Since the dawn of creation, man has designed maps to help identify the space that we occupy. From Lewis and Clark's pencil-sketched maps of mountain trails to Jacques Cousteau's sophisticated charts... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

If you are interested in Mapping, get this book.

I am definitely not a professional cartographer, but I do have quite an interest in mapping and GIS that started when I spent a summer making maps at work. When I saw this book on the shelf, I made a beeline right for it. Unfortunately I was on vacation at the time and spent an excessive portion of my vacation reading it. Thankfully I had my trusty Powerbook with me so I could actually start trying stuff out. I have a bunch of the 'Hacks' series from O'Reilly and I really enjoy them. I like being able to read them in tiny chunks. This book, like the rest of the series, has Hacks that range from a page and a half to nearly fifteen pages, but most are 3 to 4 pages. The one drawback is that you never really get into things in great detail. For instance, there are entire books on some of the Hacks in this book (ie. #91, Build Interactive Web-Based Map Applications). But that can be a good thing as well, since you get introduced to lots of various things. I really enjoyed this book. The writing is easy to follow, with enough humour to keep me entertained. The majority of the Hacks in the book were interesting and useful to me. A lot of them had me back in front of the computer before I had finished reading them to try them out. I found the cross-platform coverage to be excellent as most of the software covered is available on multiple platforms so no one gets left out. If you are interested in mapping in general, I recommend you pick up this book. There are 5 sample Hacks available on the website ([...]) so you can take a look for yourself.

Great Mapping Tips Inside...

As another selection from the "Hacks" series, this book is useful for anyone, whether they have the time to read the whole book, or merely select and use a single hack. The authors have put forth 100 useful hints and tricks to introduce the reader to the world of electronic cartography. Within 1 hour of picking the book up, and choosing a hack at (nearly) random, I had accomplished something that could have taken me 2-3 days to find the tool for the job, figure out how, and then use it. From pointers on using simple web-based mapping services, such as MapQuest (, to using GRASS ( for advanced GIS mapping, to deploying your own basic web-based mapping, this book has all you need to get started, and even finished with whatever you want or need to do with maps. A few of the hacks could use a bit more explanation, for my tastes, as to be more understandable to tweak, but overall it was an excellent selection, that I would recommend to anyone interested in electronic cartography.

Tons of mapping tips and ideas

I really like to look at maps. Perhaps that makes me kind of a geek. Maps can help people understand experiences (like vacations), cultures, and can even help in decision making. Maps are just neat. This book (at over 500 pages!) contained tips and ideas on everything I ever thought about doing with maps, and then some! This book covers so many mapping topics, it's amazing. From tools and techniques for determining the shortest route between two points, to labeling your photographs with GPS information, to building a "neverlost" for your car, to building maps to help in decision making. The book really contains a little for everyone: from basic information to understand cartography, to using your GPS device to show where on the planet you've been. O'Reilly did a really nice job with the printing of this book, as the whole thing is in color. For mapping applications, that's a necessity, and made this book stand above some of the others in this category. Additionally, the author does a really good job appealing to a wide audience and making many of the hacks interesting to as many types of people as possible. I have read some complaints that this book was printed before the Google Maps API became available, but that's certainly something that can be covered in the second edition. This is a great book for the mapping hobbyist. The book contains a lot of great ideas, tips, and information on tools to really make the most of creating and using maps in your life.

Value for beginners and experienced mappers alike...

I found another book that's excellent if you're into maps and software that creates them... Mapping Hacks - Tips & Tools for Electronic Cartography by Schuyler Erle, Rich Gibson, and Jo Walsh (O'Reilly). You can have a lot of fun with this one... Contents: Mapping Your Life; Mapping Your Neighborhood; Mapping Your World; Mapping (on) the Web; Mapping with Gadgets; Mapping on Your Desktop; Names and Places; Building the Geospatial Web; Mapping with Other People; Index What's nice about this book is that it's not all about installing some large mapping software package and then learning how to use it. Mapping Hacks covers a wide array of mapping techniques, tricks, and hacks that can be used by anyone willing to sit down and try things out. For instance, the first hack (#1 - Put a Map on It) shows you how to use the online mapping services and how to hack together a URL to add mapping to your website. Ever wondered how those driving direction sites work? Hack #2 - Route Planning Online - sheds light on that one. They even go so far as to cater to the ultra-geek and explain how to build a car navigation system that "will consume all your time and money, but make you the envy of all your nerd friends". Gotta love it... Like O'Reilly's other mapping book, this is printed in color, so you get a lot of information from the context of the figures and graphics. Nicely done. The book is also larger than a normal Hacks title. There's the standard 100 entries, but there's around 525 pages to it. You get a lot of detail on some of the more complex hacks, which in my opinion adds a lot of value to the book. A perfect book for those looking to get their feet wet on the subject, as well as for those who are more experienced but want to learn a few new tricks. Very nicely done...

A Far Cry from the Texaco Gas Station Maps!

Nowadays it isn't about simply getting information about a place or location, thanks to the recent explosion of personal-GPS units, online mapping and free and low-cost satellite imagery the latest trend is to transform information into a map to present the information in a more dynamic and sometimes more usable way. Mapping Hacks is a unique book in that it will take you far beyond simply bringing up a map of Grandma's house. It will show you how to take data that you collect and use it to present maps and cartographic data about everything from mapping the wi-fi hotspots in your area, to tracking a package as it moves across the globe to creating 3-D maps of your neighborhood, your city and even the entire planet. This book is for those who aren't simply satisfied with the basic information MapQuest or Google Maps provide, but want to take that information and use it in ways that were unheard of just a few months ago. Though having a GPS unit to collect data is a great way to get the most out of this book, there are also plenty of hacks devoted to simply mapping out or building on top of existing data. Perhaps you want to setup a web site that shows all the local eateries in your neighborhood along with their latest health report -- no problem, there is a hack that will walk you right through it! This book helps open your mind to the possibilities of what all you can do with the data you already have. You may implement the hack for the health code violations and then build from that to start mapping out housing prices, or crime statistics -- the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, the book does not cover the latest API into Google Maps -- one of the recent, and more popular resources for mappers. However, the book does cover a lot of the more traditional ways of accessing sites like MapQuest and Yahoo Maps. It was written so that you don't have to be a programmer or computer guru to get the most out of the book. It's a unique book (and in full color too I might add) that really will open your eyes and mind to the new ways of using services and information that once was only accessible to map makers and businesses.
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