The worst map design

Geomob last week was celebrated with Cheese and Wine, the best in geo technology and the worst in map design. In among the crowd we saw double the number of smart dressed folk in waistcoats and the brand-new first-time-ever used Geovation space was a real winner! 2 well deserved awards were presented at this, the finale of the UK Mapping Festival.

Alex Wrottesley of Ordnance Survey and Land Registry’s Geovation hub, greeted us with beer at their new home in Clerkenwell. Instantly a great evening of networking and fun began with a line-up of talks from stalwarts of the Geo, open and Map design worlds – many fresh from a highly successful FOSS4G in Tanzania – as well as start-ups and intriguing side projects.  Ken’s “warts and all” review of all these events is here.


Cheesiest Map of the evening goes to Kenneth Field

SplashMaps Award Winner


Gary Gale wins the SplashMaps award for best presentation at Geomob

Who’s on first, persented by Gary Gale was the winner of best presentation for the evening. So good it deservies its own article, but the show was stolen by 2 men and their assessment of the worst map design on the planet.

Tinder of roof space


Damian Kysley presents SkyScape

On the geo technology side, we were inspired by market-makers at Sky Scape, the self-confessed Tinder of the roof space world. Their application draws from extensive real-estate experience and pursues the reliable trend of urbanisation where the only way is literally up! They identify the best use of roof space for the building owner and unite them with partners in markets like solar power, logistics, drone pilots, 5G and Internet of Things networks on their unique market place platform. Brendan and Damian make a dynamic duo and are clear networking the most of their contacts through Geovation and Geomob.

Ordnance Survey’s Zoomstack


Ordnance Survey Maps on display (Nottingham and Farnham in case you wandered).

Ordnance Survey’s Charley Wesson presented a record of inspiring map design triggered by odd requests over the years. Old styles were beautifully reproduced against modern data and stunning visualisations depicted the best walked routes in Britain. Ordnance Survey are busy recruiting developers to their stack of open data and styles to be found on their zoomstack <>os.uk/zoomstack. It’s always encouraging to see more of the Ordnance Survey talent, technology and content becoming more available.

Quick is solved

David Piesse’s side project, Map Board, is now the fastest geocoder you can find. Designed to make the simplest and quickest user experience for overlaying and sharing on-line mapping! From my experience – quick is solved – simple needs some work.

The worst map design


NASA wins the Gromit for the worst map of 2018

Geomob played host to a new and highly undesirable award. The wooden spoon award for map design is affectionately known as the “Grommit”. It sits at the opposite end of the scale from the hallowed Wallis award (which SplashMaps won in 2014). This year, after a hilarious top-ten (including maps presented by the self-deprecating protagonists, Kenneth Field and Steve Chilton) went to those space cadettes at NASA for producing this amazing map of… er, I’ll let you decide.

The map evoked responses such as “What?” and more importantly “Why?” in greater profusion than any other of the 2018 candidates.


Simply Aviation nominated this simply awful map from Air Cairo

Second place went to Air Cairo who clearly paid minimum wage to the most flippant cartographer on the planet. The more you look at it the more you can see that’ll make you chuckle! There’s a great string on one of the aviation twitter feeds here

Geomob proves itself

Ed Freyfogle and Alex Wrotesley introduce Geomob

Geomob proves itself once again as the optimum network for fun and for business in the Geo industry. It is a pity that more of the UK Mapping Festival participants couldn’t make the journey across town… but it’s their loss. If you are passionate on the role of maps on the world, this was the event to attend.

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