Terms of Reference

The ICA Commission on Map Design acts as a forum for discussion, exchange of ideas and the development and spread of the principles and practice of high quality, effective cartographic design.

Good design and better mapping are core to effective cartography.  Information in a well-designed map will be rapidly recovered, unambiguous, easily recalled and ultimately inspire confidence in both the product and the action that results from the map’s use.

The new ICA Commission has been established to focus attention on establishing effective patterns for new map makers; to encourage excellence in design as a key cartographic principle; and to bring together a wide variety of people from different disciplines to help shape cartographic design going forward.

Objectives of the ICA Map Design Commission

  1. Discuss, develop, illustrate and promote the principles of map design
  2. Identify examples of good cartographic practice which underpin high quality, effective map design
  3. Provide appropriate mechanisms and support for the dissemination of current map design research
  4. Develop high quality materials to support cartographers and map-makers in the development of their own maps (e.g., books, exemplars, tutorials)
  5. Develop support for the design of specific cartographic products that are challenged by new modes of production (e.g., design for maps that use imagery as the base)
  6. Inform, enthuse and engage with fledgling map-makers (such as neo-cartographers) in a mutual exchange of methods, needs and ideas
  7. Maintain a Web site that includes a bibliographical database of map design research, a community identity for those who work in the area of map design, resources to assist map-makers in their design endeavors, and a forum for the exchange of ideas and expertise
  8. Work with other ICA Commissions which incorporate a design perspective and
  9. Have fun designing maps and enthuse others to approach their own work with an eye on design

The terms of reference for the period 2011–2015 were:

  • To develop a Map Design Web site as a focal resource for researchers in map design and map-makers of all kinds;
  • To organize sessions at ICA conferences in 2013 and 2015 focused on map design theory and practice;
  • To organize annual Commission meetings either independent of or in conjunction with other cartographic events to promote interest and participation in the Commission;
  • To publish every two years special issue of a cartographic journal or book on products arising from the work of the Commission; and
  • To collaborate with colleagues in other ICA Commissions as appropriate in complementary areas of interest.

The terms of reference for the period 2015-2019 are:

  • To maintain, expand and improve the content on our web site and across our various social media platforms;
  • To add to the MapCarte initiative and develop the content into a book;
  • To prepare a major book that explores the interface of cartography, graphic and information design;
  • To take a leading role in the organization of awards at ICA conferences (at the request of the ICA Executive);
  • To organize sessions at ICA conferences in 2017 and 2019 focused on map design theory and practice;
  • To organize, sponsor or co-host Commission meetings either independent of or in conjunction with other cartographic events to promote map design discourse and practice;
  • To prepare one Special Issue of a leading journal of cartography to explore map design for new mapmakers; and
  • To collaborate with colleagues in other ICA Commissions as appropriate in complementary areas of interest.