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Happy International Map Year 2015–2016!Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association
Happy International Map Year 2015–2016!
Map of the Month 11/2015: 3D Map Longyearbyen and environs
Map of the Month 10/2015: Project Supra – Real-time heatmaps from sports workouts
Welcome to the website 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

President’s Blog: Introducing the new ICA president

Portrait Menno-Jan KraakDear colleagues and friends,

It is a privilege to serve the ICA as your president for the next four years in our dynamic world where maps play an important role as interface to geo-related information to support decision making in many different situations.

It is obvious I do this not alone. I can and will built on the shoulders of my predecessors. And I do realize it is quite a responsibility because Georg Gartner, the now past-president has left us a healthy association. During his term ICA has been enriched in many ways. Think of our new journal, our embedding in ICSU and relation with UN-GGIM, the GeoforAll initiative and the beautiful website.

Secondly, I will act with an enthusiastic team. The newly elected members of the Executive Committee and the new Commission Chairs will allow me to put new accents.

Especially the newly established Working group Cartography for Global Geographic Information Management can put such accent. With this working group the plan is to provide the UN-GGIM an ‘atlas’ of good cartographic practice for the new sustainable development goals.

Dear all, over the next four year let’s make the world a better place with maps!

Menno-Jan Kraak

Final President’s Blog by Georg Gartner: Welcome Menno-Jan Kraak!

Georg Gartner at ICC2015 wearing an #welovemaps shirtDear collegues and friends of ICA,

ICC2015 brings a change of persons in charge. After four years of being president of ICA this function is passed to Prof Menno-Jan Kraak from the Netherlands according to the General Assembly of ICA.

In this context I would like to express my sincere thanks for all the support and collaboration I was happy to receive from so many of you; for many of the projects, ideas and efforts we have taken. It is because of this, why I consider those four years as most rewarding and successful on a personal level.

I would like to share with you my final report, describing some of the efforts and achievements which have been taken from so many in the term 2011–2015 and I would be happy to receive any comments on that.

It was a privilege to serve the International Cartographic Association as President from 2011 to 2015. I’m looking forward to the future of ICA under the presidency of Menno-Jan Kraak!


President’s Blog: ICA has its own journal! #icc2015

Georg Gartner presenting IJC

Photo by @sgk_swisscarto

At ICC2015 in Rio de Janeiro the International Journal of Cartography was officially launched!

In its sixth decade of existence, ICA has now its own outlet for scientific work. Together with Taylor & Francis, the two Editors-in-Chief Anne Ruas and William Cartwright presented the first issue in Rio.

Please check out the first issue, which is available online at tandfonline.com

And: Send us your results, papers and submissions!

President’s Blog: New members

I am happy to announce two new members of ICA.

Trinidad & Tobago has decided to join ICA as national member. The Ministry of Land and Marine Resources Division on Survey and Mapping based in El Soccoro, Trinidad and Tobago has the mission on “contributing to the development and economic success of Trinidad and Tobago by adopting new technologies and by providing up-to-date and authoritative maps, charts, land and sea information, in conventional paper and progressively in digital form to meet the needs of the government, the general public and the private sector” and felt that a full national membership with ICA will be a benefit for being able to follow this mission up.

My specific thank goes to Mrs. Paula Drakes from the Land Settlement Agency of the Ministry of Land and Marine Resources of Trinidad and Tobago. She has participated in the successful ICA Workshop on OpenSource Technologies and WebMapping early in the year 2014 at Sint-Maarten and has since then followed the idea of full cooperation up.

A heartly welcome to Trindidad & Tobago!

HERE Europe B.V. has decided to join ICA as affiliate member! HERE belonged to Nokia and was recently sold to a consortium of Audi, BMW, and Daimler. HERE considers itself a global leader in the mapping and location intelligence business. Rooted in almost three decades of experience in cartography, their vision is to offer the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. HERE is working on the idea, that giving people a better and deeper sense of location will be essential to live a modern urbanized life. Map products of HERE can be found in the majority of current navigation systems as well as in mobile, web and enterprise solutions of companies like BMW, Garmin, Toyota, Yahoo and many more.

It is for sure a win-win situation, if such a big and strong mapping company, aiming for producing the “world’s best maps”, and the international network of the International Cartographic Association meet and work together.

My specific thanks goes to Mrs. Astrid Dawson from HERE. She has participated at the ICC 2009 in Santiago de Chile and since then stayed in close contact with ICA, although she was promoted with Nokia and later HERE to responsible positions.

President’s Blog: ICA and OSGeo renew their Memorandum of Understanding

Georg Gartner and Jeff McKenna shake hands to renew the ICA-OSGeo MoU

Georg Gartner (ICA) and Jeff McKenna (OSGeo) shake hands to renew the ICA-OSGeo Memorandum of Understanding at FOSS4G-Europe in Como, Italy, on 16 July 2015

Based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ICA and OSGeo signed in 2011, a real success story developed. The MoU acted as an umbrella for several activities coordinated by the ICA Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies under the chairmanship of Suchith Anand. The so-called ICA-OSGeo Labs are focussing on the use of open source software for geoinformation management and cartography. In the meantime, more than 100 institutions have joined the initiative and it is still growing. Based on the unexpected high interest, Suchith Anand took this idea a step further and founded Geo4All, which goes beyond open software and also includes the aim of having open access to education material, data and applications.

During the most successful FOSS4G Europe conference at Como, Italy, president of OSGeo Jeff McKenna and ICA President Georg Gartner renewed and edited the MoU, which can be found on wiki.osgeo.org.

– Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: ICA and URISA sign Memorandum of Understanding

URISAI am happy to announce that the rising interest cartography and ICA are gaining from the “classical” GIS industry and their proponents have found yet another indicator. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ICA and URISA, the Urban & Regional Information Systems Association, which can be seen as a GIS professionalist’s society.

The MoU shall work as a framework towards establishing cooperations in training programmes, workshops, symposia and can entitle ICA to reach out with their key messages and instruments about the relevance of modern cartography to a large number of GIS professionalists.

– Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

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President’s Blog: Please share your thoughts on the Barbara Petchenik Competition


One of the flagships of the International Cartographic Association’s instruments is the Barbara Petchenik Children Map Drawing Competition. It is amazing how much positive interest this is getting whenever the idea and the results are displayed!

It is truly according to the mission of ICA to promote the role of maps and the importance of cartography, when school children of different age groups all over the world are not only confronted with maps, but are actively involved in making and understanding maps.

The Barbara Petchenik Competition is a real success story. In order to ensure that the success story continues, it is useful to revisit concept, perspectives, thoughts related to this from time to time. This is exactly what Jesus Reyes Nunez, Chair of the ICA Commission on Cartography and Children, is proposing in his document “Exchanging ideas about the Barbara Petchenik Competition“.

May I ask all of you to read his ideas and share your thoughts as a comment below the article. Thank you for helping us to ensure that the Barbara Petchenik Competition remains a success story.

– Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association


Maps featured in the graphic on top (from left to right): My Place in Today’s World is a World Where Friends are Very Important to Me by Keagen Madodzi (5), South Africa, 1st place <6 years (2013), Peace & Harmony by Wang Zhiling (12), China, 2nd place, 9–12 years (2013), The World at my Fingertips – Remains a Puzzle by Hayden Livingstone (15), New Zealand, 1st place 12–15 years (2011)

President’s Blog: “The World of Maps” now available in Spanish

elmundodelosmapasAlthough the International Map Year 2015/16 will be launched officially at the ICC 2015 in Rio de Janeiro later this year, activities are planned and shaped already in several countries.

That is why it is good to announce, that a Spanish version of the accompanying book “The World of Maps” has been made available on the website internationalmapyear.org. The translation of the book was done under the supervision of Pilar Sanchez-Ortiz from ICA’s Spanish national member organisation SECFT. With this the most useful book as source for understanding and disseminating the role of maps is available to all those being interested in cartography in the Spanish speaking world.

Muy bien!
– Georg Gartner
President of the International Cartographic Association

President’s Blog: 365 maps

The ICA Commission on Map Design through its chair Ken Field has undertaken a unique exercise in 2014. They have identified, collected, described and made available 365 “good” maps. This is meant as having a repository of maps available that somehow exhibit quality design principles.

Or as Ken Field writes on his blog:

My hope for this collection is that whenever we are stuck for inspiration, or whenever someone says ‘show me a good map’ then here are 365 examples to whet the appetite. They represent as broad a definition of cartography as you could possibly see in a single collection. They’re authoritative because they’ve been compiled by cartographers. There’s probably some of your own favourites missing. Some of mine are too… but that’s not the point. It’s a collection that illustrates the diverse, rich world of cartographic design from the perspective of the professionals that inhabit that world.

Check it out. What is your favourite?

Georg Gartner
– President of the International Cartographic Association