This Instagram for Maps Will Make a Cartographer Out of You Yet
Good-looking maps used to be the domain of experts. That’s been changing quite a bit in the last few years, and it’s easier than ever now for developers to access mapping data (the recent State of the Map US conference was a great place to hear about this). Never content to leave well enough alone, we thought we’d kick this sideways a bit and make it easy for the rest of us to make some great stuff.
The maps.stamen.com project was designed to let people easily use Open Street Map data in their own applications, and to provide well-designed map styles that would raise the bar for what people expect from open data. We're taking this a step further now, with http://mapstack.stamen.com/. Map Stack is about putting your creativity on the map, making it radically simpler to design your own map styles, without having to know any code, sign up for anything, install any software, or do any typing. We provide different parts of the map stack: backgrounds, roads, labels, and satellite imagery and straightforward controls for manipulating things like color, opacity, and masking.
You don't need to sign up for anything, know how to code, or know much about cartography to make great looking maps. You just need to decide where in the world you want to go, a web browser, and about five minutes. So now you can make all kinds of cool maps—say, this map of the Pentagon (which appears aglow with all the PRISM data flowing through it)—in no time: