As an ex-University lecturer I could do this in class and students would enter the workforce able to make their analysis look good on a map and communicate properly… What about those who can't be bothered reading a few pages from a book or a web site that shows them some useful tips?
You understand the academic mindset, not the hacking mindset. Academics go like this:
lectures -> books -> grades -> make a good map
Hacking goes like this:
make a map -> websites -> make a better map -> make a good map
While hacking doesn't peak your skills early, it also gives you a real Asimoviam self-education feeling, and also, unlike the academic world, doesn't put you in loan-debt and encourages creativity.
I don't know what it is about maps but for some reason everyone thinks they can make one.
Because they can. You sound like you're angry about the invention of the typewriter allowing people to communicate. Peasants! They haven't even gone to a master class by Franzen and they deign to write!
Cartography has gone mainstream....well, map-making has at the very least… We might think we make better maps (and the proof often supports that argument) but there's only one way that map-making is headed...more mainstream.
Unless we hike up the price of guitars, punk rock will kill us all.
If we go back 10 years, software provided the functionality to make a map. You pretty much had to make your fingers bleed to extract a decent map but the functions of the map were what drove the software's capabilities (class ranges, simple symbolisation, basic layouts). They weren't beautiful but they were at least functional. Those that needed to read them did so. Now...everyone wants to make a pretty map because as Woodruff states..."eye candy sells".
The difference isn't that the old tools were hard to use, it was that they were totally inaccessible. ArcGIS costs literally infinitely more than TileMill. Literally.
Form is now overtaking function and our new breed of cartomyopic map-makers want a pretty map, made quickly, consumed in seconds by a large audience and then tossed in the bin because it's a transient object with a short shelf-life.
See above: thinking that form and function are unconnected, that popular simple things are inherently short-lived and worthless, and all of this sort of stuff has been said by many grouches previously and has never panned out.
This is picto-bite map-making (bit like sound-bite but in pictorial form) where the search for the viral map that captures attention is more important than creating a well constructed, purposeful product.
Maps made by consumers for consumers, designed to be glanced at, have some sort of instant interest but no lasting purpose or appeal.
No lasting purpose! Nothing! See, for instance how we've totally forgotten about pop stars of the past, like the Beatles, or Elvis. Those kids were pointless.
See above again.
This is cartomyopia...the short-sighted view that making a map look pretty will serve its purpose and not appreciating that it's fundamentally bad for you.
'It's fundamentally bad for you.'
So the big question is not how do we make people make better maps, it's how do we arrest this modern carto-plague and make cartomyopic people who already think they know how to make maps... make better maps.
Is this really the big question? Honestly, this part puzzles me. As much as I feel like the Axis Maps post is the same sort of anti-expansionist romanticism as this, at least they've done a good thing for humanity by making colorbrewer and typebrewer aka "actually doing shit". Why choose to just complain?
Working with them is the answer but here's the next big problem...they so rarely seek help or advice from a cartographer (possibly because they know it'll create more work) so the first time you get to see the work is often when it's published having gone through a marketing department that usually suffers from the even more chronic form of cartomyopia (application of modifications to make it even worse).
You can seek 'help or advice from a cartographer'? Who? How much?
So what's the prescription for cartomyopia? Well the first step is to get them to a meeting where they can admit, in a friendly and non-threatening way that they are a cartomyopic. No one will laugh. No-one will belittle them for their admission. Quite the opposite...most cartographers I know are crying out to help and provide the medication.
Who? See above: are there cartographers just waiting on the phone giving free cartographic advice? 1-800-NORTH-ARROW