Following on from a successful survey in 2012/13 that saw Damien Demaj and Kenneth Field publish in The Cartographic Journal to reassert design relevance in cartography (paper that won the Henry Johns prize in 2013), the ICA Commission on Map Design have announced an exciting initiative for 2014. Every day during the year, the Commission web site will publish a short daily blog post titled “MapCarte” to showcase examples of map design that represent some of the very best in classic and contemporary cartography. The intent is to build a repository of 365 maps that cover the breadth of cartographic practice to illustrate and emphasize the importance of map design. The Commission believes there is no other similar repository. The reason for such an effort is simple: how many times do we (as cartographers) get asked to point to examples of great cartography? And how many times do we struggle to come up with a list we can easily point to?
By the end of the year we will have created a compendium that can act as a reference for high quality map design that we can all share and point to. It will provide experts with a key list and hopefully show new map-makers the standards set. In some ways it’s a reaction to the mashup culture and the massive increase in poor mapping we see. We are intent on shifting the public demand for quality in maps instead of quantity and we hope that by showcasing great maps we can encourage standards in general to improve. Some of the maps you’ll have seen before – some possibly not. We’ll include both traditional print cartography and the very best that the internet has to offer. Each map will be illustrated and accompanied by a brief comment or two on why we feel the map exhibits great design.
Small selection of maps featured by the MapCarte initiative.
Hopefully the maps we’ll showcase will provide a barometer for modern map making, inspiration for those who seek ideas for how to map their data and also to improve the public’s appreciation of and demand for quality in maps. We also need help: Please consider emailing to the Commission Chair Kenneth Field or send him a tweet (@kennethfield) with your ideas and examples. We want this list to be inclusive so the more people who contribute ideas, the more we will generate a repository that truly represents the global cartographic community. Please also follow the series via Twitter (@ICAMapDesign) or the commission blog at mapdesign.icaci.org.
We hope you enjoy the series – a new daily cartographic treat to delight us in 2014!