Welcome to the International Cartographic Association
Happy International Map Year 2015–2016!New ICA poster series on Maps and Sustainable Development GoalsJoin us for the 28th International Cartographic Conference in Washington, DC!Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association
Happy International Map Year 2015–2016!
New ICA poster series on Maps and Sustainable Development Goals
Join us for ICC2017 in Washington, DC, USA. The Call for Papers is now open!
Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association

Conference location for ICC2021 selected: Florence, Italy

During our executive committee meeting in Washington DC the first week of October, we had to judge two very competitive bids for our 2021 conference location: Florence, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa. Florence was selected to host our 2021 International Cartographic Conference.

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

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Invitation to the Barbara Petchenik Competition 2017

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the International Cartographic Association and the Commission on Cartography and Children, it is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the next Barbara Petchenik Map Competition 2017, an event created with the aim of promoting the creative representation of the world in graphic form by children.

In 2017, this biannual international award has a special connotation, because it is organized on the frame of activities programmed within the International Map Year. For this reason, the theme for the 2017 competition equals the motto of the International Map Year: “We love maps”. Entries can be nominated in four age groups: under 6 years, 6–8 years, 9–12 years and 13–15 years. The deadline for the participation in the contest is 1 May 2017. [All details can be found in the rules document.]

The world in our hands by Pan Sin Yi (15), Malaysia

Winning entry of the 2015 competition: “The world in our hands” by Pan Sin Yi (15), Malaysia

Winner drawings selected at national level will be displayed in the International Exhibition to be held during the 28th International Cartographic Conference in Washington, DC, USA, from 2–7 July 2017. An international jury will select the best entries by each age group. Additionally there will be a prize issued based on a public vote by the conference participants. New will be the Creativity Award issued by the ICA Commission on Art and Cartography.

For more detailed information about the competition, please visit the Petchenik section on the ICA website, the website of the Commission on Cartography and Children or their Facebook page.

If you are interested in using children maps in your context, e.g. with publications, we would like to encourage you to contact us. The map drawings made by children in the previous competitions can be found in the Archive of the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition, maintained by the Maps, Data and Government Information Centre at Carleton University Library.

ICA assumes we can count on the participation of your country in the competition 2017.

– Menno-Jan Kraak
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s blog: ICA posters on display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

ICA posters at the UN GGIM meeting

During the sixth session of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM, 3–5 August 2016), the posters created by ICA’s Commissions on the Sustainable Development Goals were on exhibit in the conferences area in United Nations Headquarters in New York. During the opening session the participants were pointed to the exhibition of the ICA posters. During the first day of the conference the exhibition catalog was distributed to all participants. ICA’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals was well received.

The posters as well as the catalog for the poster exhibition can be found on icaci.org/maps-and-sustainable-development-goals.

Let’s make the world a better place with maps!

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

More photos can be found on the ICA Facebook page


President’s Blog: A map perspective on the sustainable development goals

The Sustainable Development Goals, officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are a UN Initiative. Official website: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org

In the light of the International Map Year (IMY), the ICA and its commissions are highlighting the value of cartography by “mapping” the UN sustainable development goals.

In the past months, a set of posters has been created, one for each sustainable development goal. They do not map the goals and their target based on indicators as such. The poster series tells the story of cartographic diversity, of mapping options, and of multiple map perspectives. Each of the goals has been mapped from a particular perspective by different ICA Commissions. All posters have a short take-home-message that should make one aware of particular strengths of the map.

The posters as well as the catalog for the poster exhibition can be found on icaci.org/maps-and-sustainable-development-goals

A huge thank you to all commissions involved and to Wim Feringa from ITC for the poster design and production. Let’s make the world a better place with maps!

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: Invitation to ICC2017

Our bi-annual International Cartographic Conferences are highlights on the cartographic calendar. It is with great pleasure that I invite you to Washington, DC, in the United States to participate in ICA’s 28th conference. It promises to be a unique and successful event. It will be unique because we will experience the developments in our discipline since the previous conference. These developments will be expressed in papers and posters and in exhibitions of maps and technology. Unique because Washington, DC, is the center of US cartography, and many organizations and companies will share their knowledge with us. Successful because you will be there too.

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association


The Call for Papers is now open. Please find all details on the ICC2017 website.
Submissions are due October 26, 2016.


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President’s Blog: General assembly, regional conferences and scholarships

EC Meeting in Madrid, Spain

EC Meeting in Madrid, Spain

During the last Executive Committee meeting in Madrid, we have made the following decisions:

We are preparing a Call for an Extraordinary General Assembly during the ICC2017 in Washington. The purpose is to change some articles of the statues to guarantee a smoother flow of ICA activities.

Establish Regional Cartographic Conference (RCC) series in the non-ICC years. There is a clear need to have ‘local’ conferences next to our bi-annual International Cartographic Conferences, as was recently again proven by the successful EuroCarto event in Vienna. A call to organize the first RCC’s in 2018 is being prepared and will be made public by the end of 2016.

The ICA scholarship rules have been refreshed and can be found at icaci.org/scholarship. We now have scholarships available for young scientists and professionals from our member nations to participate in our ICC’s, the RCC’s and also Commission and Working Group events. There is extra funding available for cartographers and GIScientists from non-developed member states.

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: #CartoSummit – A Report

The International Cartographic Association (ICA) and Esri hosted a Cartographic Summit, 8–10 February 2016 in Redlands, California. This summit of invite-only guests from a broad array of fields assessed the state of play in mapping and visualization and explored where we’re headed. Leading thinkers from academia, government and industry explored trends and how they are shaping the work that we’re doing.

Participants of the Cartographic Summit 2016

Broad themes of Data, Media, and Design provided a focus for open sharing and conversation to learn from each other, and share best practices, and find new or proposed solutions.

The summit intended draw together a plan for research, innovation and strategic thinking to support mapping and visualization needs as we move forward. The intent was to set a marker for understanding common challenges from a range of perspectives in and outside the traditional cartographic communities; to draw together different ways of thinking and working; and to build bridges across the many communities in the map-making and visualization fields.

Presentations (here by Menno-Jan Kraak) and break-out session for collecting and discussing keywords for each session

For each of the three topic half a day was reserved, and consisted of three speakers (a keynote and two lightning talks) and breakout sessions to discuss the topic based on the top five keywords generate by the audience after the talks. The findings of the four groups were reported after each session. In a final session an overall discussion was followed by a synthesis of the lessons learned.



  • Keynote: Improving Data Visualization Literacy: How to Empower Anyone to Read and Make Visualizations – Katy Börner, Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science, Indiana University
  • Lightning Talk: Big Data Cartography – James Cheshire, Lecturer in Quantitative Human Geography, University College London
  • Lightning Talk: Doing Cartography as Professional Amateurs – Alan McConchie, Lead Cartographer, Stamen Design

Data session: Katy Börner, James Cheshire and Alan McConchie

Keywords for the topic of data: data design, data analysis, domain expertise, user and applications, conceptualization


  • Keynote: carto-future-ography – Gary Gale, CTO, what3words
  • Lightning Talk: Mapping for new media. Building on 128 years at National Geographic. – Kaitlin Yarnall, Director of Maps, Graphics, and Art, National Geographic
  • Lightning Talk: Cartographic Design as Visual Storytelling – Robert Roth, Director, University of Wisconsin Cartography Laboratory Assistant Professor, UW-Madison Department of Geography

Media session: Gary Gale, Kaitlin Yarnall and Robert Roth

Keywords for the topic of media: storytelling, technology to create interaction; ethics, tracking; purpose of map; user, human make and using the maps


  • Keynote: Pictures and Geography – Nigel Holmes, Graphic Designer, Explanation Graphics
  • Lightning Talk: Geoprivacy in the Age of Big Data – Jeremy W. Crampton, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky
  • Lightning Talk: Evidence Based Design – Sara Irina Fabrikant, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Zurich

Design session: Nigel Holmes, Jeremy W. Crampton and Sara Irina Fabrikant

Keywords for the topic of design: clarity, user/audience, privacy, uncertainty, issues of design for big data


  • Synthesis: ICA Viewpoint & Lessons Learned – Menno-Jan Kraak, ICA president, Professor of Geovisual Analytics and Cartography, University of Twente / ITC

The third day was a view into the ESRI Kitchen. The participants were able to comment on planned developments related to topics such as Mapping and Visualization,  3D and Story Mapping as well as a few other topics, while discussing with ESRI developers.


How the audience reacted to the summit can be found on Twitter via #cartosummit

The results of the discussions is summarized in the figure below. An more extensive interpretation will follow in a contribution to our International Journal of Cartography.

The results of the summit summarized in one chart


  • Further elaboration of the materials into a column for ESRI news.
  • The recordings of the event will be shared and disseminated widely (links via our website).
  • Convert this report into an ICA News article.
  • Elaborate into a paper for our International Journal of Cartography.

President’s Blog: Follow the future live: Cartographic summit


The International Cartographic Association (ICA) and Esri will host invited guests at the Cartographic Summit: Future of Mapping in Redlands, California, to examine new directions in mapping. Mapping is evolving at a rapid pace – enabling us to communicate in new ways, analyze important issues, and understand our world. At this summit, leading thinkers from academia, government, media and design will discuss how cartography can and should meet changing needs and expectations.

The event will be live streamed:

After the event I will report here about the outcome, but we also aim at a paper in the upcoming research agenda issue of our International Cartographic Journal, which will provide even more details.

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: Seasons greetings

ICA Executive Committee Meeting, Vienna, 9 November 2015: Lynn Usery, Georg Gartner, David Forrest, Monika Sester, Menno-Jan Kraak, Sara Fabrikant, László Zentai, Yaolin Liu and Vít Voženílek. Missing: Pilar Sánchez-Ortiz Rodríguez

The ICA Executive Committee wishes Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!

Dear colleagues and ICA friends,

2015 has been an exiting year for cartography. We have experienced a most successful 27th International Cartographic Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Besides, throughout the year Commissions and Working Groups have organized many smaller events in conjunction with national members or sister organizations. 2015 was also the start of the International Map Year. Many small and big local events were organized to celebrate the map. It is obvious that cartography is very much alive!

During the Rio event ICA’s 16th General Assembly took place, and a new leadership has been elected. We now have 27 Commission and Working Groups with people in charge who eagerly started their new ‘jobs’. This also includes the new Executive Committee.

This is also the moment to thank all of you who have been active for ICA over the last four years, especially if we realize that we all do this as volunteers.

2016 activities will focus on the International Map Year. The cartographic exhibition at the UN-GGIM meeting in New York should be one of the highlights where ICA will present its cartographic perspective on the seventeen new sustainability goals true a collaborative effort of all Commissions and Working Groups.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a prosperous and ‘mapable’ 2016.

Menno-Jan Kraak
– President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: Report of the ICA Commissions and Working groups meeting in Vienna

November 8 and 9, 2015 the (co)chairs of ICA’s Commissions and Working Groups met with the members of the Executive Committee (EC) to discuss the future activities of the ICA. The objective of the meeting was to offer the ICA officers a good and fresh start for the 2015–2019 period. A side effect of the meeting was that all of us met new and old friends, and we had a chance to become familiar with each other.

The meeting, hosted by the Past-President at the Technical University of Vienna, was organized in three distinct parts. The first dealt with “What ICA expects from you”, the second part with “What do you expect from ICA”. The third part was linked to the International Map Year (IMY) and the UN sustainability goals.



What ICA expects from you

After an introduction round, Laszlo Zentai, our Secretary-General informed us on how ICA Commissions and Working Groups are supposed to operate, based on our statues and by-laws. This included information on how to organize a Commission (Chair/co-chair, website, members etc), how to communicate within ICA (the newsletter, the bi-annual report to the EC), options for publication of results (our International Journal of Cartography, again ICA news and the Springer book series), activities related to our International Cartographic Conferences (reviews, (joint)workshops, business meetings), and financial support. This might seem trivial since all information is available on the website, but it proves that these sessions are useful anyhow.

In an exercise the (co)chairs had to revisit their terms of reference, and decide which of those will be their focus point in the next four years. These so-called flagship projects could be joint commissions efforts. Also they had to think of there planned activities on the short term and for whole 2015-2019 period, to allow us share and combine events. And as you can imagine, they had to indicate how they would think to contribute to the International Map Year.

What do you expect from ICA

This session started with short presentations by different EC members of what we call ICA’s instruments, such as our strategic plan, the ICA directory, publications, the research agenda, our scholarships, and ICA external relations with the Joint Board of GIS and the GeoUnions. The first unites international organizations involved with geospatial information and strives to act as a collective and unified voice at the international level, such as within the UN. The second represents those geo-related organizations that are member of ICSU.

After this flow of information, the (co)chairs where asked to react and express their opinion about our instruments both from a positive and negative perspective. They where also asked to come forward with any issue they would like to see discussed to be able to let ICA better operate.

IMY / Mapping the sustainability goals

The third part of the workshop dealt with the International Map Year (IMY) and how we as ICA can make an impact by “mapping” the sustainability goals.


The new UN 17 sustainability goals can be found at sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Each of these goals has a specific objective. For instance Goal 4 on education states: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. For each goal a number of targets have been set. An example of an educational target is “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”. To see if those target are met multiple indicator have been defined. Indicators are numbers, for instance “Completion rate (primary, lower secondary, upper secondary)”.

These indicators can be mapped. As individual variable or in combination with each other. During the IMY ICA will organize a cartographic exhibition at the next UNGGIM meeting in New York, August 2016. The plan is to create a set of 17 posters, one for each goal that demonstrates how maps can help to get insight in these goals. The plan is not just to create a single map for each goal. The idea is to offer different cartographic perspectives on these goals via story maps. These perspectives are offered by our Commissions. Each of the 17 goals has been adopted by two Commissions and together these wil map a goal based on their skills set. So for instance the poster that involved the Commission on Visual analytics might show how in an exploratory environment one can combine different indicators to reveal trends, the poster involving the Commission Mountain Cartography could show how the landscape influences the distribution of certain phenomena. The poster co-designed by the Commission on Map Projections might show good and bad examples of global projection.

The final goal of this exercise is to create an atlas of best practices of mapping the sustainability goals. This should be ready by the end of the 2015–2019 period.

– Menno-Jan Kraak
President of the International Cartographic Association