Keen to develop more integrated sites of information that unfold online and off, San Francisco based Stamen launched Walking-Papers.org in 2010. The design team headed by Eric Rodenbeck with partners Michael Migurski and Shawn Allen have become known for work such as Crimespotting.org, a website that provides users with information pertaining to crimes in American cities using governmental information found on the Internet. Walking-Papers.org is a website designed using OpenStreetMap that provides free geographic data such as street maps that users can edit and update online. Rather than giving standard cartographic information in the form of GPS coordinates and the names of roads, however, Stamen was interested in developing a more personalized version that would provide updated information that only someone on the ground in a particular location would know, such as the location of post boxes, bicycle racks, and even favorite restaurants. As Migurski has noted, “Walking Papers is an editing tool that provides information that not even google maps makes available.” The catch was to enable a system that anyone could use without the need for high-tech gadgets such as GPS devices. The system that Stamen has developed is easy: first, users can pan and zoom over an area of a map they are interested in editing, before printing a hard copy to use as a reference or to mark-up as they wish. Personal drawings, notes, photographs, and Post-it Notes are just some of the devices used by users to illustrate their notations. Then, once annotated, the document can be uploaded to Walking Paper’s site. A barcode on the map tracks its position and matches it to the online version. The multilayered maps provide insightful tools for tourists and locals alike.
Stamen. Walking Papers, 2010. Courtesy of Stamen.