It’s been a while… so why not meet up in Madrid?

Dear Map Design Community:

It’s been a while since this blog has been used. A lot has happened since the last post, in both map design and life. My apologies for the Commission’s absence. This falls on me.

For those of you who have stuck it out, thank you.

I plan to use this regularly again moving forward.

To reward your patience, I invite you to…

Submit a paper abstract to the upcoming conference –  Atlases in Time – taking place in Madrid, Spain, from April 20 – 23, 2022.  

The Atlases in Time Conference is being coordinated by three ICA Commissions, including Map Design, Toponyms, and Atlases, and Spain’s IGN to celebrate the organization’s 150th birthday.

Due to this conference being part of a birthday celebration, there are no conference fees. You only need to cover transportation, lodging, and meals. Field trips planned by the IGN will also be included – information on these is forthcoming.

For more information, please visit our conference website.

Or go directly to the Call for Abstracts page for more detailed information.

The deadline for submission is coming fast – February 15 – but the abstract needs to be 500 words or less, so don’t let the time crunch deter you! 🙂

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly or reach us via our conference contact page here.

Let’s meet up in Madrid this April! I look forward to seeing many of you there.


Ian Muehlenhaus
Chair, ICA Commission on Map Design


Official details extracted from the Call for Abstracts web page follow:

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the National Geographic Institute of Spain (IGN) being founded in 1870 – the IGN is the publishing institution of the National Atlas of Spain – the ICA Commission on Atlases, the ICA Commission on Map Design and the ICA/IGU Commission on Toponymy, together with the IGN and the Spanish Society for Cartography, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (SECFT) organise a conference on National and Regional Atlases from 20 to 23 April 2022 in Madrid.

During six sessions of four presentations each, questions concerning evolving dissemination concepts and techniques for atlases, recent development and examples of National Atlases as well as important map design and toponomastic issues in atlas production will be discussed.

Presentations will be held in a classic 20 min format of 15 minutes speaking with 5 minutes of discussion. A publication of the contributions as papers or abstracts will be carried out. Also accepted abstracts will be published using the ICA-Abstracts platform.

Your abstract shall not exceed 500 words and may be submitted as doc., .docx or .pdf-file.

ICA Commission activity at AAG 2013

The ICA Commissions on Map Design and Neocartography hosted a series of three paper sessions at the Association of American Geographer’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in April. Organised and chaired by Kenneth Field (Chair Map Design) and Andrew Turner (vice-chair Neocartography), the sessions brought together a terrific mix of cutting edge work on a wide variety of topics that cross-cut themes of map design in the digital age.

Ken (Esri) began the first session with a paper co-authored by Professor William Cartwright (RMIT) on the Use and Abuse of Harry Beck’s tube map. The focus here was squarely on design and the issues facing cartography as more and more people use a schematic tube map, inspired by Beck, as a template for their own maps. Mike Peterson (University of Nebraska at Omaha) explored the range of approaches available to digital map-makers and how the various APIs can be leveraged. Ryan Mullins (Penn State) showcased SymbolStore as a forum for creating and sharing point marker symbols. It’s a useful repository that cartographers would be well advised to check out. Aileen buckley (Esri) presented examples from her work on designing effective spatiol-temporal maps. Aileen presented a good summary of current web map examples and demonstrated some approaches to developing the techniques in ArcGIS. Closing the first session, Andrew Turner (Esri) used his experience of the hacking community to present a compelling picture of how neocartographic approaches are contributing to the response, management and recovery in crises. His examples ranged from Haiti to Sandy and allowed us to plot the way in which mapping technologies have matured in such a short space of time to provide fundamental support.

John Kostelnick (Illinois State university) picked up the mantle from Andrew for the second session as he looked specifically at design of map symbology to support crisis mapping by International humanitarian organisations. Shunfu Hu (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) then illustrated how his work operationalised some of the work that Mike Peterson had been discussion earlier. Ahmad S. Massasati (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown) reminded us that map design isn’t the preserve of vector data by focussing on some of the issues relating to  Mosaicking and Georeferencing Old Aerial Photography. In what he claimed was his first ever presentation in English, Jong Lee did a great job explaining his research into the design and testing of animated maps.  His practical approach to creating interactive web maps picked up some of the themes outlined earlier by Aileen and tied together a number of salient points in terms of design principles. The final paper in the second session was given by Gordon Green whose work in mapping the rooftop cooling potential of New York City demonstrated that good design in a web environment was a function of getting both the science right as well as the interface.

The final session comprised three papers from young researchers. Victoria Loughlan (University of Edinburgh) carried on the theme of humanitarian mapping for UN peace operations. Gary Huffman (Penn State) presented his work on Natural Language Processing in ArcGIS to provide advanced search capabilities. John Clary (The University of Texas at Austin) mapped personal electronic communications and touched upon big data as well as information design.

Thanks to all the presenters and also to those who attended…particularly given the unfavorable slot we’d been allocated in the AAG schedule! We had a vibrant conversation that we hope will continue to emerge as map design becomes a crucial component of information communication now we’re in a web map world.