Welcome to the International Cartographic Association
Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic AssociationJune’s Map of the Month: World atlas in Polish and Braille
Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association
Map of the Month 07/2014: Death in Grand Canyon
June’s Map of the Month is a world atlas in Polish and Braille
Map of the Month 05/2014: Physical Geography of Ukraine

President’s Blog: Education

Cartography is a domain including technology, art and science. In order to be able to fully deploy the capacity of cartography education in all these areas is key. It happens to be that respective university programmes, professional trainings, and job trainings are more and more changing their scopes and names, leaving the unique competence combination of cartographers, being able to deal with big data, modern technologies and artistic design, vacant.

It is of this reason, that programmes dealing with dedicated cartographic education are of growing importance. Let me highlight here two programmes, which ICA is taking significant note of.

  • The International Course on Management and Applied Techniques in Cartography (IC_Cartotechnology), run by the Institut Cartografic i Geològic de Catalunya, has the aim to provide a wide range of geoinformation professionals with a capacity-building instrument that covers the basis of advanced and up-to-date techniques, tools and critical thinking in cartography. It therefore integrates all the disciplines, approaches and techniques used to acquire and exploit geospatial data. Several ICA collegues have contributed to the first successful edition by giving lectures. The second edition starts in September 2014 and enrolment is still possible.
  • Three central european universities, the Technical University Munich, the Vienna University of Technology and the Technical University Dresden, are offering a joint Master Programme on Cartography. This is a 4-semester programme and it leads into a joint master degree of all three universities. Currently four intakes have been accepted and are in different stages of their studies. The programme is competitive, as only a restricted number of students can be accepted and has so far proven to be most successful in achieving the aim of educating experts with capacity in technologies, data handling and design skills.

President’s Blog: Breaking News – International Map Year 2015–2016

Logo of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information ManagementIt is my sincere pleasure to inform you that at the fourth session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management at the UN Headquarters in New York, 6–8 August 2014, the ICA Initiative on an International Map Year 2015–2016 was positively discussed.

The resolution states:

The committee endorses the International Map Year 2015–2016 as proposed by the International Cartographic Association as a valuable means to promote the importance of maps and geoinformation.

With this we have reached a most prominent framework for the planned acitivities and I invite all members of the ICA family to consider their active participation. To stay up-to-date with all activities around the International Map Year, please visit internationalmapyear.org.

Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: Africa

Visit to Botswana Department of Survey and Mapping

Visit to Botswana Department of Survey and Mapping

National Delegate of Botswana to ICA Lucy Phalaage and ICA President Georg Gartner in Goborone, June 2014

National Delegate of Botswana to ICA Lucy Phalaage and ICA President Georg Gartner in Goborone, June 2014

Given the fact, that I had the opportunity to recently visit Africa several times I am eager to share my experiences with you in terms of finding a continent with severe constraints but also significant opportunities. In this respect the importance of geospatial information management and cartography is recognized by more and more proponents within Africa and seen as a most important technology, capacity and instrument for the further development of societies and economies.

It is in this context that I was so impressed by getting in contact with many ambitious, motivated and excellent colleagues like from the Botswana Department of Survey and Mapping, which I was able to visit in July 2014 and give a half-day workshop on modern cartography, or with colleagues from South Africa and other African countries at the most successful AfricaGEO 2014 conference in July 2014, where a lot of surveyors, remote sensing experts, GI scientists and cartographers gather and shared their results, problems, methods and experiences on a high level, or with colleagues from Uganda, Ethiopia, Tunesia and other African countries, which are contacting ICA for several reasons, including their willingness to fully participate in the developments of modern cartography and GIScience.

It is without doubt, that for the International Cartographic Association Africa is and remains a major focus.

President’s Blog: Geo4All

Prof. Chen Jun (ISPRS President), Jeff McKenna (OSGeo President) and Prof. Georg Gartner (ICA President) during their meeting at AfricaGEO in Cape Town in July 2014 to discuss future collaboration for GeoforAll

Prof. Chen Jun (ISPRS President), Jeff McKenna (OSGeo President) and Prof. Georg Gartner (ICA President) during their meeting at AfricaGEO in Cape Town in July 2014 to discuss future collaboration for GeoforAll

The “Geo for All” Initiative has developed out of the Memorandum of Understanding Activities between ICA and OSGeo (the Open Source Geospatial Foundation). So-called “ICA-OSGeo Labs” have been founded in unexpected high numbers in the last months (http://www.geoforall.org/locations/), demonstrating the great interest and demand for evaluating and using Open Source Software in the area of Cartography, GI Science and Geospatial Information Management.

In order to direct the development of this initiative an Advisory Board has been found, co-chaired by the Presidents of ICA (Georg Gartner) and OSGeo (Jeff McKenna). Due to the inclusive character of this initiative and a strong interest being expressed several times from the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) is now joining this initiative.

We are looking forward to working together in our common aim to expand geospatial education and opportunities to all.

President’s Blog: Disaster management and cartography

Evacuation of Participants of the 5th Jubilee International Conference on Cartography and GIS with helicopters throught to flash floods in the region of Varna in June 2014

Evacuation of Participants of the 5th Jubilee International Conference on Cartography and GIS with helicopters throught to flash floods in the region of Varna in June 2014

The 5th Jubilee International Conference on Cartography and GIS (ICCGIS) together with EU Seminar on Early Warning and Crises management was held on June 15–20, 2014 in Riviera, Varna, Bulgaria. The successful conference was attended by 170 specialists from 42 countries around the world and was professionally organised by Prof Temenoujka Bandrova and her team once again.

The ICA Commission on Cartography in Early Warning and Disaster Management, chaired by Prof Milan Konecny, has contributed in the past to publications such as the UN-OOSA and JBGIS publication on “Geoinformation for Disaster and Risk Management”, demonstrating the strong need and demand for profound expertise in such contexts.

It happens to be, that the Conference demonstrated this connection unexpectedly. During the Gala dinner, which was organised in a typical Bulgarian restaurant, strong flash floods struck the region. The floods blocked several cities (in Varna city 12 people lost their lives). The only access to the road back to Riviera was closed due to rise in rivers’ water levels. Unexpectedly, participants had to spend the night in the manor without their personal belongings and medicines and with limited food reserves. Emergency services in Bulgaria and various embassies and medical centres were immediately contacted. Finally, with the help of the Military Geographic Service of Bulgaria all participants were evacuated via helicopters and returned safely back to their hotels.

This real life experience demonstrated, that the topic of “Disaster Management and Cartography” can’t be underestimated in its relevance to all of us.

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Former ICA president Fraser Taylor receives 2014 Killam Prize

Fraser Taylor, Source: canadacouncil.ca

D. R. Fraser Taylor, recipient of the 2014 Killam Prize

The ICA is pleased to inform that former ICA President Prof Fraser Taylor received one of the highest Canadian awards – the Killam Prize – for his outstanding contributions as a cartographer. This demonstrates once more that cartography is relevant, attractive and modern and it is good to see that proponents of our discipline are recognized in such a noble manner.

Congratulations, Fraser Taylor!

Georg Gartner
President, ICA

 

From the press release of the Canada Council for the Arts:

Ottawa, April 9, 2014 – Five of Canada’s top scholars and scientists were recognized today as the Canada Council for the Arts announced the winners of the 2014 Killam Prizes, which awards $100,000 to each recipient.

The winners are:

  • Sajeev John, University of Toronto
  • Andreas Mandelis, University of Toronto
  • James Miller, University of Saskatchewan
  • Francis Plummer, University of Manitoba
  • Fraser Taylor, Carleton University

These are Canadians who have made their mark in the international race to find an effective HIV vaccine, pioneered diffusion wave technologies that are revolutionizing medical diagnostic methods, introduced the new discipline of “Cybercartography” and its capacity to illuminate socio-economic issues, enhanced our understanding of relations between Canada’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, and developed optical technologies that will transform the way information systems transmit data.

For more information:

President’s Blog: Season’s Greetings

Dear collegue and friend of ICA,

The year 2013 was in many ways a most successful year for cartography and the International Cartographic Association.

We are witnessing an enormous popularity of maps. Today maps can be created and used by anyone with just modest computing skills from virtually any location on Earth and for almost any purpose. Cartographic data may be digitally and wirelessly delivered in finalized form to the device in the hands of the users or they may derive the requested visualization from downloaded data in situ. Real-time data handling and visualization are other significant developments as well as location-based services and mobile cartography. We see a significant interest of big companies to participate in these developments as well as an ever growing number of map users.

We are witnessing growing awareness for the relevance of communicating spatial data efficiently through maps. Maps and cartography play a key role for our society, economy and decision making processes and this becomes more and more understood by governments, authorities, companies and the society, thus driving developments such as Spatial Data Infrastructures and Service-oriented Cartography. It was interesting to see, that the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) is confirming this statement exactly, because maps are most efficient in enabling human users to understand complex situations. Maps can be understood as tools to order information by their spatial context. Maps can be seen as the perfect interface between a human user and all those big data and thus enable human users to answer location-related questions, to support spatial behavior, to enable spatial problem solving or simply to be able to become aware of space.

Cartography is facing fast, challenging and demanding developments. But on the other hand it’s highly rewarding to contribute to cartographic research, developments, applications or products. Such contributions have been done under the umbrella of the many, many activities of the International Cartographic Association in 2013, with the International Cartographic Conference in Dresden as highlight!

Therefore I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of the many commission chairs, commission members, committee members, participants at ICA events, correspondents, cartographers and GIScientists or simply friends of ICA which have contributed to the further development of our most attractive, modern and relevant discipline!

With this I would like to express my sincere season’s greetings and wish all of us a most successful, interesting “cartographic” year 2014!

Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: It’s OK to be a Cartographer!

A graffiti wall in Dresden, 2013

A graffiti wall in Dresden, 2013

In my opening address at the International Cartographic Conference 2013 in Dresden, Germany I argued, that there is quite some confusion about the status, relevance and importance of Cartography. While the term “map” is most popular and sees its arrival in big business debates amongst major software companies, in mass market applications related to new technologies such as mobile devices or in the mass media, the term cartography provokes the question “Is that still around?” It is more likely that those, who are involved in making maps nowadays call themselves not a cartographer but rather something else.

I argued further, that the enormous relevance of the ever growing amount of geodata and geoinformation can only be “unleashed” when it becomes accessible to human users. To make geodata and geoinformation accessible to human users means to try to package it in a way that it can be perceived, “digested” and used, thus simply communicated. I argued further, that this was and is exactly the aim and contribution of cartography. Maps are most successful in being the interface between spatial data and human users. They order information based on the spatial attribute, they engage to explore, the can be entertaining, they help to become spatially aware, they tell stories, they help me to position myself in a particular topic by showing entities and their relations.

I argued that without this contribution we would be somehow “spatially blind.” Maps enable us to answer space-related questions. Maps can be used to support spatial behaviour. I argued further, that in order to enable spatial thinking, spatial planning, spatial reasoning or decision making cartography is needed. I pointed out that maps are the most successful and powerful instruments to enable spatial awareness.

By looking at those arguments as a way to describe the relevance of cartography as a discipline and the enormous drive and popularity cartography gets from applying most contemporary technologies I argued in my take-away messages:

  1. Cartography is relevant
  2. Cartography is attractive
  3. Cartography is most contemporary

If my arguments are trueg, then there is no need to step back or hide away as a cartographer but rather the other way around. It is of high importance that cartography and cartographers are actively contributing their skills, knowledge, methods and research to the geospatial domains.

I therefore argued, that
It is OK, to be a Cartographer!

Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: ICC 2013 is only some weeks away!

logo_icc2013All of us in the north hemisphere are eventually enjoying the summer, holidays or working under summer conditions. If you are situated in the southern hemisphere this might be just the other way around, you are facing the winter.

However, for all of us our gathering at the International Cartographic Conference 2013 end of August in Dresden, Germany is only some weeks away.

I am excited by the fact, that we will have the chance to listen to the newest developments of modern cartography, appreciate the latest scientific results, learn to know about new methods and applications. I am looking forward to admire the newest maps being submitted from countries all over the world being displayed at the International Map Exhibition. I am eagerly waiting to see the maps being drawn by children all over the world at the Barbara Petchenik Children Maps Competition. I am especially looking forward to simply meet you, to discuss with you and to feel comfortable in the big family of cartography and ICA!

Dresden is only some weeks away. I see you there!

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