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Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association
View our poster series as a contribution to the Sustainable Development

Mapping for a Sustainable World

Dear colleagues,

It is with great pleasure we present you the book “Mapping for a Sustainable World”, a co-publication by the United Nations and the International Cartographic Association. This co-insides with today’s International Day of Education (24 January 2021).

In 2015, the United Nations identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (henceforth SDGs) in an effort to address, collectively, the most pressing problems facing our world. The SDGs relate to broad social, economic, and environmental challenges, and provide a framework for shared action. Each of the seventeen SDGs has a set of targets and indicators to assist countries towards meeting the goal. To achieve the SDGs, governments and people need to understand each challenge and monitor progress towards alleviating it.

Inspired by this initiative and eager to contribute ICA started a map poster project in 2015. It cumulated in a map exhibition at the United Nations Headquarters in 2016. This book project, executed in together with the Geospatial Information Section of the United Nations, can be considered the follow-up of the map poster project.

Drawing from cartography, the book offers guidelines for mapping geographic datasets related to the SDGs by introducing basic principles of map design and use, discussing established best practices and conventions, and explaining how different mapping techniques support understanding of the SDGs.

The book comprises four sections. Section 1 introduces the SDGs and their relation to geospatial data, describing SDG indicators and data transformations for mapping. Section 2 describes foundational design decisions in the cartographic workflow, including projections, scale, generalization, symbolization, typography, and visual hierarchy, among others. Section 3 introduces the common map types (e.g., choropleths, proportional symbols, dasymetric maps, bivariate maps, cartograms) and diagrams (e.g., bar graphs, scatterplots, timelines) for representing the SDG indicators. Finally, Section 4 discusses considerations for map use environments, such as audiences, user interfaces and interaction operators, mobile and web media, storytelling versus exploration, and open access.

The book has an editorial team comprising writers from the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the Geospatial Information Section of the United Nations (UN). The book is published as an open access document according to the CC-BY-NC license. When drawing from or reusing text or figures from this book, attribute/cite as follows Kraak MJ, RE Roth, B Ricker, A Kagawa, and G Le Sourd. 2020. Mapping for a Sustainable World. The United Nations: New York, NY (USA). The institutes of the editors (University of Twente / ITC, University of Wisconsin-Madison), and the UW Cartography Laboratory (design and layout), and the United Nations Geospatial Information Section have made the necessary resources available to realize the book.

The pdf-version of the book can be downloaded from the page accessible via the following link https://www.un-ilibrary.org/content/books/9789216040468. A direct DOI link will follow. A printed version is in preparation. At a later stage we plan to also release all data used to create the maps in the book.

Menno-Jan Kraak (ICA)
Robert E. Roth (ICA)
Britta Ricker (ICA)
Ayako Kagawa (UN)
Guillaume Le Sourd (UN)

Category: General News
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