I wanted to open a question asking about visualization techniques in GIS beyond conventional methods enabled by Arc/QGIS toolkit. I.e. my recent question/answer Creating regularly spaced points inside polygon based on attribute value using QGIS? provides an interesting approach to mapping data, that I never encountered before (a sort of merger between mapping and info-graphics).

I'm afraid though that the question (What are some useful unconventional mapping techniques?; and list what is known and tried by most people in the question: choropleth maps, pie charts etc.) will be closed immediately as too broad. However, when browsing the stack exchange it seems that these sorts of wiki-like questions are among the most popular and useful ones to the broader community i.e. Listing available online WMS services (Weather, Land Data, Place Names)? , Learning Python programming with generic GIS goals in mind?

I know that I can search the web and find different techniques, but most info there is about conventional methods that everybody in the GIS world knows already, and unconventional ones are usually blog posts with just one method tried by a user.

Can I open a question like that or should I narrow it down to a specific dataset that I need to get mapped?

There is none - I just want to see what other people came up with throughout the years.

1 Answer 1


You are correct to think that a question of type What are some useful unconventional mapping techniques? is too broad. It is also 'primarily opinion-based' (how to determine what is 'useful'; what is 'unconventional'?). Hence, it would be quickly put on-hold as such (at least I'd vote for closing in such manner).

You mention former popular questions in our site which are similar to the one you would like to ask. Most of these questions were asked in the early stages of GIS SE when the scope was different. Today, they are mostly turned to community-wiki and closed (or protected). They are kept around because they have a historical value.

Two options you have are to try modifying the question to make it narrow enough to our Q/A style (I'd go for this one), or somehow convince the community it could be a question which would start as CW. I think the former is very uncertain though; you would need to ask, make it CW, explain why it would be on topic (prevent from closing) and hope nobody will cast close votes (I probably would, but it would depend on your explanations to leave it open).

  • I'm sure that most frequent visitors here wouldn't have problem with listing 5-8 conventional mapping techniques, and all additional ones mentioned would be significantly less common, so I don't see how this is an opinion-based question. Similarly with useful, if a method provides a message required by map-maker better than other methods it is more useful - again look at my question and answer mentioning pie charts. I didn't know about the move to strictly Q/A style... Solving issues relevant to one user seems to be less beneficial than something that may appeal to thousands of users.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 17:58
  • 2
    I understand your POV, it is that I just don't agree with it, hence, I shared my opinion to help in this discussion. Others may think differently of course. One problem that I see using the card/argument it will be a question useful to others is that we will only know that after the question is asked and evaluated by the community (I am sure many users that ask a question here, think his/her question will be useful to others as well); so I am not favor in relaxing the current rules (in the way I see them) to treat a question differently from others. (@Ruslan) Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 18:07
  • 1
    I see your point as well. Let's see what others think. Maybe community wiki-like questions may be first discussed on meta to make them more relevant to others and then moved to main site? I have no doubts that the question posed above (if rephrased) is useful to others - every now and then I stumble upon a new visualization and have that "aha!" moment when I realize how I can use it in GIS. And there is no catalog of such Geographic visualizations on the web (or I'm not aware of them).
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 18:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .