Earlier this year, I joined the newly-formed advisory board for the web site GeoHipster. The site, and specifically the Q&A interview format with people working throughout the geospatial industry, had rapidly developed an audience and the logistics had outpaced the ability of the site’s founder, Atanas Entchev, to keep up. So a group of us signed on to help out. As a result, many of us have contributed interviews and helped Atanas manage the direction of the site.
One thing that became clear to me even before joining the advisory board was that Atanas was taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to the “hipster” label. He was simply having fun with a prevailing cultural meme. The content of the site, however, belied a desire to celebrate the work being done throughout the industry. I admired that interviewees often had clearly strong opinions on issues and that Atanas, while staking no specific positions for the site itself, did not attempt to buff away the hard edges of these opinions. I have found the site’s content refreshingly honest and often fun, which is why I wanted to get involved.
Last year, GeoHipster introduced a number of mechanisms to help defray the costs of running the site. These included sponsorship (Thanks, Mapbox!), patronage, and the sale of merchandise such as calendars and t-shirts. The calendar was a particularly fun showcase of the artistry of the geospatial industry and GeoHipster is reprising it for 2016.
Last week, the site published a call for maps for the 2016 GeoHipster calendar. We’ve already seen a great response and are looking forward to more. There is a lot of imagination in our industry and the maps we’ve seen so far reflect that. The calendar is a great way to showcase your art so I encourage anyone to send a submission. The advisory board would like nothing more than for the job of selecting 13 maps to be as difficult as possible.
The sales of the calendars help keep the site running. GeoHipster is not a nonprofit but it is certainly not profitable. The costs of operating the site include obvious things such as hosting and design work but also include the costs of sending a free t-shirt to each interviewee and the distribution of the stickers that have become a fixture on geospatial laptops across the world. So your maps will help keep a good thing going. If you’ve enjoyed reading GeoHipster this year, and you feel you have strong cartographic skills, I encourage you to submit a map.