Map-Based Sites: The End of the Site Map?

The online-journalism segment of the blogosphere is atwitter with reactions to the preliminary launch of Everyblock, "an assortment of local news by location so you can keep track of what’s happening on your block, in your neighborhood and all over your city." Thought there are some obvious differences -- LandScope's thematic focus foremost among them -- structurally, Everyblock suggests a pretty interesting instance of the convergent evolution of ideas on the web. I know they're just introducing themselves, but it took me a little while to figure out where the map view was hiding, so here's a link to what's happened in and around the north Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville.

When the map becomes a -- the? -- primary means of accessing content, what happens to the conventional site map? Internet users have become much more sophisticated in their use of online maps, and georeferencing content provides a powerful way of navigating it. We'll still need the wrapper of introductory material in this formative stage, but these examples suggest that the "map" metaphor of site design to date is becoming much more literal -- and more compelling, imho, in the process.

- Kyle Copas

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