New Maps for the Web by Stamen

I just left the Stamen studio where I had a brief chat with founder and CEO Eric Rodenbeck. He enthusiastically showed me their newest work: maps.stamen.com. As part of the CityTracking project, the savvy folks at Stamen have put create three sets of map tiles to be used with OpenStreetMap data. These tiles are not your average map using custom colored vector paths. Instead Eric and his team tried to push the boundaries of what we consider feasible in mapping on the web.

Toner is a high-contrast black and white tile set that is optimized to focus on the actual shapes found in maps without being distracted by a plethora of colored lines and areas. Eric mentioned that working with simplified maps like these, allows the creator to focus on the actual information that is represented on multiple levels to find the right balance between no information and an overload thereof.

Terrain contains hill shading and natural vegetation colors as seen many great static maps from the past (like the ones in this excellent book; no affiliation in any way, I just love this book).

Watercolor is what got me really excited: The watercolor tiles were created by applying raster effect area washes and organic edges over a paper texture. What started as an exploration of how water color behaves eventually was automated and simulated by the awesome work of Zach Watson. He would actually describe the process rather as faking than simulating, but the outcome is what counts.

Along the demo of the maps, Stamen also provides simple instructions how to use them with you favorite mapping framework like ModestMaps, Leaflet or Google Maps. They are available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license.

New Maps for the Web by Stamen Stamen is a design and technology studio based in San Francisco.

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  • Nursah

    Actually I have you know an opinion on that topic, and I must confirm Watsons description, outcome is what counts. But you know what’s inside a coconut, that is what can be used for cooking, so in terms of second-level-thinking the question is what the drive of the milks empowerment was, so you know that affects the eater/cooker then in its most epic way. However me, personally, I prefer for bone formation cow-milk, coco-nuts milk is in my point of experience rather the sweet-and-cute-joy-drive than the cooking-served-best drive. However at the end of the day, I am happy if I have something to eat, and for I don’t think only reaelastically on 5t-level-thoughts, I must admit, the outcome refers to what’s in or not-at-all or worse its verse. It’s like a social obligation to my children in spe. Just do it – the best way, I can. Ah and should you be interested in further topics referring to cooking and serving at its best I would recommend a longhaul flight on a/all black and white issues (old-fashioned but still effecting as if it was cooked today, 2006/07/08/09/10/11/12 dinners-choice), should you want to order them call me on my cellular phone +41 79 954 11 84 reach me electronically on nursah@me.com or via fb/twitter or any other technical line to contact, I’ll organize them/it all for you. Wish you nice day, and nice map on the floor (is it an Italian city?), btw.

  • Nursah

    Actually I have you know an opinion on that topic, and I must confirm
    Watsons description, outcome is what counts. But you know what’s inside a
    coconut, that is what can be used for cooking, so in terms of
    second-level-thinking the question is what the drive of the milks
    empowerment was, so you know that affects the eater/cooker then in its
    most epic way. However me, personally, I prefer for bone formation
    cow-milk, coco-nuts milk is in my point of experience rather the
    sweet-and-cute-joy-drive than the cooking-served-best drive. However at
    the end of the day, I am happy if i have something to eat, and for I
    don’t think only reaelastically on 5t-level-thoughts, I must admit, the
    outcome refers to what’s in or not-at-all or worse its verse. It’s like a
    social obligation to my children in spe, which happily look forward to a life in full freedom without killing ingredients, such as not-wanting but having-to without even seeing it (ingredients have nowadays a far way more impact than we may fork – but it all is on sur/face later on) . And I, I Just do it [cooking]- the best way I can – and yes, I
    can. Oh and should you be interested in further topics referring to
    cooking and serving at its best I would recommend a longhaul flight on
    a/all black and white issues (old-fashioned but still effecting as if it
    was cooked today, 2006/07/08/09/10/11/12 dinners-choice), should you
    want to order them call me on my cellular phone +41 79 954 11 84 reach
    me electronically on nursah@me.com or via fb/twitter or any other
    technical line to contact, I’ll organize them/it all for you. Wish you
    nice day, and nice map on the floor (is it an Italian city?), btw. 

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  • Tom Stove

    Love the watercolour tile, very exciting stuff!

  • James P

    They are really eyecatching and clear looking. I’d love to be able to implement something like this.