Stamen is a design and technology studio in San Francisco.

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We've been designing and building maps and data visualizations in San Francisco's Mission District for happy clients since 2001. Stamen is a 100% independently owned and operated company.

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MapQuest: Map Equals Yes

Most online maps are are designed to help you get around in a car. This generally means displaying: roads, businesses, buildings, on-ramps, parks, oceans and traffic congestion. Nothing wrong with that! Designers get handed a tool kit that has as many tools as a good swiss army knife, and the maps reflect these tools. Millions of people use them to make appointments across town, find restaurants, and drive home for the holidays.

But what if, instead of a swiss army knife, we used a box of crayons? Or charcoal and newsprint? Or play-doh? What would those maps look like? What could they tell us about the world?

Working with MapQuest, we've put together a new set of interactive maps using OpenStreetMap data that explore this question. It's called "map=yes", and it has three objectives:

  • To explore new possibilities for online mapping in a world of increasingly open data sources like Open Street Map, the world-wide Wikipedia for maps built by volunteers.
  • To highlight the kinds of things that are possible now that MapQuest has committed to supporting their own OSM XAPI (pronounced "zappy"), or Extensive Application Programming Interface.
  • To have fun! Maps that look like they came out of Sin City are rad, and there should be more of them.

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