Making and sharing maps is easier than ever, and social media platforms make it possible for maps to rapidly attain widespread visibility and engagement. Such maps can be considered examples of viral cartography–maps that reach rapid popularity via social media dissemination. In this research we propose a framework for evaluating the design and social dissemination characteristics of viral maps. We apply this framework in two case studies using maps that reached wide audiences on Twitter. We then analyze collections of maps derived from and inspired by viral maps using image analysis and machine learning to characterize their design elements. Based on our initial work to conceptualize and analyze virality in cartography, we propose a set of new research challenges to better understand viral mapmaking and leverage its social affordances.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management of Technology and Innovation