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: How do we name what we do?

For all of us being around in our domain for a while we have witnessed quite some transitions not only in what we do and how we do it but especially also how we name it. We have seen the move from terms like “cartography” to terms like “GIS”, “geomatics”, “geoinformation science”, “geoinformation”, “geovisualisation”, “visual analytics”, “geospatial information management” just to name a few. All those terms have a short history that basically dates back to the inauguration of using computers to make maps.

Maybe you experience as well that it is hard sometimes to describe this “geo-spatial-visual something” to non-industry insiders, but there are universal term that everyone recognizes, and that’s maps and cartography. But, why we are not using this simple, universal and established terms?

Maps are big news right now. Influenced by companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft and the status of maps as a must-have on smart phones and web applications they are very attractive to many. The term “map” seems to see its repeated revival as a contemporary, relevant and attractive term for something contemporary, relevant and attractive.

However, it seems as if the term “cartography” is seen differently. Interestingly enough, often especially by those, who are the experts, the specialists and closely related to the domain. Maybe it is because it feels like it needs a different name to describe that the job we are doing in dealing with maps has become different. Often different technologies and methods are used, something which demands new and often very complex competences. How can it then still be named the same? Is it not necessary that the name describing what an industry is doing, what an expert in a discipline is doing needs to somehow reflect these changed competences which change methods and technologies? Is it not very much needed that I can name what I am doing as something most modern, complex, contemporary, as this will lead to respect, appreciation and recognition? And if I am calling myself a “cartographer”, being involved in “cartography”, will this lead to the same respect, appreciation and recognition, or will I rather be associated with something old-fashioned, out-dated?

There are for sure a lot of rationales for terms being used in our domains, and they all have their relevance. However, it seems as if the term “cartography” seems to become avoided, especially by cartographers, while many of the things being done under the umbrella of other terms could easily simply be called “cartography”.

In communication science we use the theory of semiotics to explain communication processes. In this model, syntactical, semantic and pragmatic dimensions are used. Unlike semantics, which examines meaning that is conventional or “coded” in a given language, pragmatics studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance. In this respect, pragmatics explains how language users are able to overcome apparent ambiguity, since meaning relies on the manner, place, time etc. of an utterance.

If this is true, then it is an always ongoing process in how we use and understand terms. This use and understanding is influenceable. This applies to the term “map” and “cartography” as well. It is therefore in the interest of ICA to contribute to this process.

While the definition of “cartography” and “map” as published by ICA still lasts back to the 1970s we need to revisit this definitions. You will soon see some related action in this respect, and obviously we are very much interested in YOUR perspective and understanding.
How do you name what you are doing?

President’s Blog: eCARTO News

ICA just launched a new service, the eCARTO News!

Beneath the contemporary ICA-related entries at the ICA website and the excellent ICA News being edited by Igor Drecki, compiling relevant information about all ongoing activities within ICA, there are numerous activities, development, stories and issues outside the world of ICA – but maybe of interest to cartographers and GI scientists. Such stories, news and announcements can be found in journals, in media, on the Internet and even in newspapers.

Dr David Fraser

Dr David Fraser – editor of the eCARTO News

Dr David Fraser, the former Chair of the ICA Commission on Education and a retired professor of RMIT University Melbourne, is assembling such news since years. He has made them available as email-based newsletter to the Commission members. We have invited him to share his compilation with the family of ICA from now on. David’s compilation will be a list of links, inviting you to explore what he has found for us. If you have any general cartography items of interest then please email them to the editor of eCARTO News.

I am looking forward to your responses to this new service. Please be aware, that all ICA-related topics will be covered in our existing proven instruments, especially the ICA News.

Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: Publications

ICA has a long tradition in publishing results of ICA-related work. This includes books, journals, proceedings and online resources.

Books

Books have been published with Butterworth Heinemann, Map Collector Publications and Elsevier in the past. Since 2011 ICA is entitled to publish results of their activities, such as commission work, conferences or symposia in a subseries of the Lecture Notes on Geoinformation and Cartography of the Springer-Verlag, called Publications of the International Cartographic Association. Currently nine projects are listed in this series, some of them in progress. In its joined meeting with all commission chairs the current Executive Committee strongly encourages all commissions to consider the opportunity to publish outcome of the work of commissions in this book series. Thus more book projects can be expected in the next years to come.

Journals

In terms of journals ICA is – other than comparable sister societies – not running an own journal so far. In many countries related to ICA journals exist, most of them are often accepting papers in the local language only, while the English speaking journals run by the respective national societies of Canada (Cartographica), USA (Cartography and Geographic Information Science) and the UK (The Cartographic Journal) have gained international presence, and thus are important partners of ICA. Due to the raising importance of the availability of high-quality publication media, as a key indicator for a scientific discipline and the academics working in this discipline, the journals within the domain of Cartography have put some efforts in making themselves aware of this situation. Some journals start to accept English papers, many have adopted a peer-reviewing system to control the quality, usually you can find an international editorial board and some are even trying to get accepted for quality measuring systems, allowing for calculating impact factors, something which needs to be referred to when applying for jobs in academia.

Proceedings

The online availability of all proceedings of International Cartographic Conferences since 1993 has proven to be a most useful source. We aim on continuing this service after the next conferences as well. At this point I would like to mention the two ICA Webmasters who have made quite some efforts to have this service up and running: Manuela Schmidt and Felix Ortag, both from Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

Further publication sources

Finally I would like to mention two more important publication sources.

The biannual newsletter ICA News is edited by Igor Drecki from Auckland University, New Zealand. This publication is strongly committed to ICA-related information, being presented in high-quality in terms of both, content and design. All newsletters can be downloaded for free from the ICA website.

Within the professional magazine GIM International the former Secretary-General David Fairbairn (Newcastle University, UK) is editing and collecting contributions to a one-page ICA column, allowing to address a very prominent number of subscribers with ICA related topics.

At this point I would like to thank both of them, Igor Drecki and David Fairbairn for their efforts.

Publication types at ICC2013

A final word: Related to the upcoming International Cartographic Conference 2013 in Dresden all publication types will be used. A book in the ICA Book Series of selected papers will be published, five special issues of journals will be published (Kartographische Nachrichten, Cartographic Journal, CAGIS, Cartographica, GIM International) and proceedings will be made available via electronic media.

Georg Gartner
President of ICA

President’s Blog: Affiliate Members

ICA is proud of having a number of affiliate members. Affiliate membership can be granted to organizations, institutions or companies wishing to support the mission and activities of the International Cartographic Association.

Affiliate members are contributing to the work of ICA in many ways. They participate in commission and working group activities, they participate and exhibit in International Cartographic Conferences, they sponsor and contribute to conferences, workshops, symposia and publications, and they are, first of all,
partners in disseminating information about the importance and progress in cartography.

Given the fact that I have personally found discussions and contributions of the ICA affiliate members often very rewarding I feel obliged to use this first blog entry of 2013 to highlight the importance and role of the ICA affiliate members by thanking them for their ongoing commitment and name all of them here:

ESRI
Intergraph
Ordnance Survey
East View
Ekograf
PPWK
SuperMap
UN Cartographic Section
Wuda Geoinformatics
Bundesamt für Kartographie & Geodäsie
Dubai Municipality
Geospatial Information Authority of Japan
Instituto Geográfico Nacional España
Institut Géographique National
Institut Cartografic de Catalunya
National Hydrographic Office
National Land Survey of Finland
Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, Chamber of Surveying and Cadastre Engineers
United States Geological Survey
Association of Polish Cartographers
Centro Argentino de Cartografía
Chinese Cartographic Association (Chinese Taipei)
Indian National Cartographic Association
Land Information New Zealand
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)
Faculty of Information Engineering, Wuhan
Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography
Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development
Rectas
University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Bulgaria
University of Balamand

President’s Blog: Season’s Greetings

Dear Friends of the International Cartographic Association,

The year 2012 was in many ways a successful year for cartography and the ICA. I want to thank you for your efforts and interest you have taken in the ICA. The Executive Committee is looking forward to working with you in the upcoming year and wishes to express their best season’s greetings.

Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: International Map Year

In its resolution 6 the UN Regional Cartographic Conference, held in Bangkok in November 2012, recommends the ICA to organize an International Map Year in 2015.

The wording of the resolution reads in detail as follows:

Resolution 6. Usefulness and benefits of geospatial information

The conference,

  • recognizing the enormous benefit of reliable and authoritative geospatial information and maps in decision making for sustainable use of natural resources, economic development and for community well being;
  • noting the need to promote geospatial information education and training for national governments, decision makers, the geospatial industry and users;
  • also noting the preparations made by the International Cartographic Association ad-hoc committee for the International Map Year, and the support by the Joint Board of Geospatial Societies (JB-GIS) on this initiative;
  • recommends the International Cartographic Association (ICA) to organize an International Map Year in 2015.

The resolution has been adopted and included in the report of the UNRCC 2012.

At that moment the merits for achieving this resolution have to be given to Former President Bengt Rystedt and former Secretary-General Ferjan Ormeling, who provided the necessary concepts and documentations through the ICA Working Group for the International Map Year and Immediate Past-President William Cartwright for working through the UN administration.

President’s Blog: Last call for papers for ICC 2013

The most important date for all cartographers for 2013 is 25–30 August 2013, when the International Cartographic Conference will take place in Dresden, Germany.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to 15 November 2012!

This allows all of us working in cartography and GI Science to prepare our papers or abstracts accordingly, so that we can share our concepts, ideas and results in the conference. You are able to indicate, if you want your submission to be reviewed on the full paper and thus qualify eventually for a journal or book publication as well as for a presentation or you prefer a review based on the abstract and qualify for the presentation sessions and proceedings. Please check out all details on www.icc2013.org.

Whatever you are up for, it is most important, that all of us are contributing actively by submitting papers and abstracts, so that the conference can be a true platform of those working in cartography and GIScience and reflect the relevance, attractiveness and innovative character of our domain.

rawboned-refined