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: 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.

President’s Blog: Winner of the ICA video contest

The International Cartographic Association invited students, young cartographers and other mapping enthusiasts to express their vision on modern cartography through the development of a video answering a call for videos earlier this year. It was envisaged that the video would focus on content like “how cartography relates to situations in daily life” and “what is the role of cartographers”.

The ICA Executive Committee judged the entries on originality, creativity, adherence to the theme and decided on Mr Jeff Welter’s entry as winner of the ICA Video competition 2012 – congratulations! You can have a look at Jeff’s video here:

Any comment is welcome as well as eventually further ideas on how to promote the importance and relevance of cartography in modern daily life, either on a global or on a private scale.

President’s Blog: Mountain Cartography

To depict elements of the topography of a landscape in a symbolic, abstract, geometrically sound but also eventually easily understandable way is a core discipline of cartography. Beneath all topographic elements of a landscape mountains are for sure amongst the most challenging ones to model and depict. Not only the derived geometry needs to fulfill the constraints of allowing a meaningful combination with other map elements but also the applied cartographic design should support the visual impression from the terrain  features  and especially the most dramatic ones, including the mountains itself.

It is therefore not a big surprise that beyond the most famous cartographers you can find especially such which have deserved their merits by designing and producing cartographic mountain depictions of high quality.

Within the International Cartographic Association the specific importance of this particular area of cartographic challenge has led to the foundation of the Commission on Mountain Cartography at the ICC 1999 in Ottawa. Since then this Commission, chaired by Lorenz Hurni from Switzerland from 1999-200 and Karel Kriz since 2007, has managed to attract ambitious cartographers and fascinating aficionados of all kind of different backgrounds being interested in mountain cartography. The unique spirit of this group has proven to be specific just recently when the Commission meet at their International Workshop at Tongariro National Park New Zealand. ICA Commissions are platforms for enthusiasts, experts and those which want to exchange and share their ideas, solutions and developments for the sake of the issue. The mountain cartography commission is fulfilling this role exactly and thus leads to an ongoing benefit to its members.

The merits of the recent meeting in New Zealand belong to the Commission Chairs, namely Karel Kriz and in replacement of Lorenz Hurni also Dusan Petrovic and Stefan Räber, but especially also to the colleagues from the local organizing committee Geoff Aitken, Roger Smith, Igor Drecki, Antoni Moore and Christian Fremd who not only organised the whole event but also managed to make everybody feeling most welcome in New Zealand.

Participants of the 8th ICA Mountain Cartography Workshop

President’s Blog: Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science

International Organizations like ICA have a common fundament of values and overall missions. Those values are steered and influenced by the International Council of Science (ICSU). ICSU was founded in 1931 to promote international scientific activity in the different branches of science and its application for the benefit of humanity. ICA is currently in the status of a Scientific Associate and we have taken steps to become a full scientific member.

One of the pillars of the work of ICSU is reinforcing the Universality of Science. This means, that scientists anywhere, of any age, discipline and background possess the freedom and the means to participate freely (and responsibly!) in global science.

Two related issues of concern that have recently been on the agenda of the ICSU Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) have been distributed from ICSU just recently, which I would like to share with you:

  1. ‘Muzzling’ of scientists and scientific institutions
    Freedom of expression and communication are fundamental to the furtherance of scientific inquiry for the benefit of society. A number of recent incidents in different countries suggest that both of these ‘rights’ may be at risk. In particular, there have been several cases where public sector scientists have been prevented from talking to the media on topics that fall within their expertise but where their views are not necessarily in accord with Government policies. We are seriously concerned by this trend of increased pressure on both individual scientists and academic institutions to only say what is politically acceptable.
  2. Protection of whistle-blowers
    CFRS previously argued that the self-correcting nature of science requires that policies and mechanisms be in place to protect whistle blowers. Scientists have a duty to expose fraudulent information and/or misconduct, particularly where this concerns health and environmental risks. However, this can only be expected to happen if institutions accept responsibility for protecting whistle blowers and have procedures for dealing with their allegations. There are indications that this is not always happening and that, whilst scientists are aware of cases of misconduct, including fabrication, falsification and plagiarism, from colleagues, they are very reluctant to report them.
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President’s Blog: A national day for cartography

There is a country in the world, where cartography has its own national day. At the annual “Dia de Cartografo” on May 6 the importance of maps and mapping for environmental issues, urban planning, tourism, disaster management or more general for supporting decision-making in the country is celebrated.

The country which celebrates such a day once a year is Brasil. This national day for cartography is an excellent possibility to make everybody aware of the importance and significance of cartography. The cartographic community in Brasil, steered by the Brasilian Cartographic Society, is active in various innovative ways beyond this national day.

It is good news, that the international cartographic community can be a guest of Brasil at the International Cartographic Conference 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, 23–28 August 2015!

Possible gala dinner site for ICC 2015 in Rio de Janeiro

Possible gala dinner site for ICC 2015 in Rio de Janeiro

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President’s Blog: Memorandum of understanding with International Hydrographic Organisation renewed

Cartographers apply mapping technologies to map lands. Hydrographers apply mapping technologies to map the seas. It is obvious, that both have a lot in common. It is not only the technologies they are sharing but also the methodologies , the theories and the principles of design, cartographic modeling and media adequate representation techniques.

When looking at famous mariners and explorers like for instance Captain James Cook one can learn, that those mariners have not only managed on how to sail a ship successfully but have also been excellent cartographers. Cook’s maps of the St. Lawrence River System have been used for decades!

It is therefore not a big surprise that the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), the international body of hydrographic offices all over the world being in charge on producing navigational charts and the International Cartographic Association have renewed their memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently. With the friendly support of the new elected president of IHO Captain Robert Ward the signing of the MoU was placed prominently at the opening of the Hydrographic Conference in Monaco 2012. Under personal patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco and the EU Commissioner Maria Damanaki the MoU got a more then appropriate audience.

What is needed most to fill this cooperation with life? I see three major aspects: Hydrographers are eager to understand, if their usage of electronic displays leads to efficient cartographic communication processes. Furthermore, the topics of standardization, portrayal and SDI are of importance to both communities. And finally, both organizations are interested in contributing to capacity building and outreach programs. What’s the point in not having joined efforts in this respect when applicable, like e.g. in a small island where the capacity of mapping and hydrographic offices are restricted anyhow?

I would be most pleased, if ICA can become a home for the cartographers of the sea as well. And I would welcome it very much, if the ICA community comes up with ideas and actions on joined efforts.

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President’s Blog: Gerhard Mercator

Gerhard Mercator

Gerhard Mercator.
Engraving by Frans Hogenberg.

In the year 2012 the world of cartography is celebrating the 500th Birthday of Gerhard Mercator. What Isaac Newton might be for the domain of physics and Charles Darwin for the discipline of biology is Mercator for the domain of Cartography, an outstanding representative who has influenced the discipline in a unique way.

By looking at the life and work of Gerhard Mercator one can argue, that not only his remarkable maps, globes, atlas and projection should be remembered, but also his attitude as person and mapmaker.

Cartographers like to get hold of data sources, validate and cross-check them, aggregate and order the derived information in a useful way and display that information by applying good design with the possibilities contemporary technologies offer. This is what Mercator has done in his times and this is what cartography is aiming to do with nowadays tools as well.

Several activities are taking place in the year 2012 to acknowledge Mercator’s birthday. One of those has taken place just recently close to his birthplace “Rupelmonde” in the Belgian city of Sint-Niklaas. ICA Commission Chair Philippe de Maeyer and his staff from the University of Gent managed to organize a most interesting programme including visits to the worldwide only permanent Mercator-museum and an excellent temporary “Mercator Digitaal” exhibition.

The opportunity to look at artefacts being produced by somebody like Gerhard Mercator can be recommended to all nowadays cartographers and GI scientists as I found it a true inspiration for the acknowledgement of the beauty and the challenges of our discipline.

If you know of further Mercator-related events, feel free to post them in the comments.

President’s Blog: ICA outreach and capacity building

Georg Gartner

Georg Gartner,
ICA President

ICA as an international organization is interested to follow its mission and aims globally. Thus my participation at the GeoTunis 2012 conference in Tunis just recently brought an interesting insight into the lively and active community of cartographers and GI scientists of primarily Arab countries. A Letter of Intent signed with a Minister of the Tunisian Government stated the intention of Tunisia to join ICA as national member again.

Besides a very interesting conference programme, a two-day workshop under the flag of ICA was given on topics of contemporary web mapping. The well received workshop, given by Vice-Chair Markus Jobst of the Commission on Map Production, demonstrated once more the strong interest ICA has in offering outreach and capacity building programmes. In order to synchronize efforts in this respect better, ICA has founded a Working Group, which is entitled to help to coordinate the variety of workshops being offered by commissions of the ICA, including the Commission on Education and Training, the Commission on Maps and the Internet, and the Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies.

While some activities of ICA Commissions are meant as offers for outreach and capacity building some workshops and seminars are meant for commission members and other interested experts to meet and to develop their topics of interest further. Such meetings are taking place literally globally and throughout the whole year. Check out the ICA Calendar, the ICA Commission web pages or the National and Affiliate Member sites to get information on this. Let me mention as example the ICA Commission on Generalization which calls for papers for their workshop in Istanbul in September 2012 or the German Cartographic Society Workshop on Map Creation from User Generated Data, which has the call for paper open now.

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President’s Blog: Website feedback and a map poem

The relaunched website has caused an impressive number of positive reactions, including a note in the “Kartographische Nachrichten”, the Journal of the German Cartographic Society, where the Editor Rolf Harbeck refers to the relaunched ICA website as the probably “richest source for information on the international community of cartography”. He also highlighted the use of modern web technology. The new added LinkedIn – Group option (have a look at the small blue button “in” on the top right part of the ICA website) has helped ICA to reach out in only two weeks time to many who share interest in ICA topics but have not found the right instrument yet to get in contact. Interested? Try it and share it!

Our polish colleague Beata Medynska-Gulij has informed us about the passing away of the polish poet and nobel prize winner for literature (in 1996) Wisława Szymborska in February 2012. The last poem she finished before her death is called “Mapa” (“the map”). I would like to share a draft translation of the first and third part of the poem, done by Agata Ciolkosz-Styk from the Institute of Geodesy and Cartography Warsaw, with you:

 

Wisława Szymborska

Wisława Szymborska, 2009,
photo by Mariusz Kubik

THE MAP

by Wisława Szymborska (2012)

Flat as a table,
On which it is put.
Nothing moves underneath it,
Nothing changes its place.
Above it – my human breath
Does not create vortexes of air
And nothing muddies its pure colours.

I like maps, because they lie.
Because they do not give an access to the virulent truth.
Because generously, with good-natured sense of humor
They spread on a table in front of me the world
Not of this world.

 
 

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rawboned-refined