Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory”, reminding us that we shouldn’t confuse our mental models for reality. But maps, and data visualizations of all kinds, are really powerful, conveying complex ideas easily, and even shaping (or misshaping) perceptions about facts. This is one reason why decentralization of mapping resources and services is good; no one organization should control our common maps.
SVG is a natural fit for mapping. There’s even a detailed proposal by KDDI’s Satoru Takagi-sensei for tiling, layering, and coordinate resolution that fits on top of SVG, which I’d like to see standardized.
I’ve had an idea for a small open-source project for a while, which I’ve discussed with the brilliant Andreas Neumann of Carto.net; he’s been too busy planning SVG Open every year to help out with it thus far, and I don’t have the skills to do it without a great investment in time.