Chair Kenneth Field and Co-Chair Alexander Kent represented the Commission on Map Design at a meeting of the ICA Executive Committee and Commission Chairs in Vienna 24/25th November. The meeting provided an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas on how the work of the ICA Commissions should be shaped for the next four years. New ICA President Georg Gartner outlined his vision for the period and enabled us to explore a wide range of exciting opportunities and challenges. Both Ken and Alex were able to develop a clearer idea for the successful operation of the new Commission. Core to the initial work will be to further develop the web site, membership and begin to outline strategy and content to support map design more widely.
Only days after the Commission was approved by the ICA General Assembly at the ICC Paris conference, Chair Kenneth Field and Vice-Chair Anja Hopfstock held a second meeting at the 2011 Esri International Conference in San Diego. This was to be the first official meeting of the Commission though it was held in the same vein as the Paris meeting in that we sought further ideas on the issues and approach for the Commission from a wide range of people. There were a number of useful discussions and overlaps with the ideas that came out of the Paris meeting.
It was key for people to see the Commission bringing back the relevance of design to cartography, particularly in an age of democratized map-making; to convince map-makers who perhaps disregard a great deal of cartography to see the value of it in their own work; to provide examples of good practice and avenues to information; and to be open and inclusive.
These seem like good principles to us! Thanks to all who participated and whose comments will help shape our efforts to provide a voice for high quality design in map-making.
Prior to approval at the ICC meeting in Paris, the organizers of the Commission took the opportunity to hold a preliminary, inaugural meeting. The meeting was attended by 15 people from a range of backgrounds and a lively discussion on the definition, value and purpose of design in modern cartography ensued. The meeting was held to table ideas and help shape the thinking of the organizers; to begin to explore what the issues are and how best to approach them. A number of excellent ideas were discussed which we will be moving ahead with in the coming months. Some key phrases that resonated:
- there is no objective solution to map design
- we do not need a map Police…but we might need a clean up crew
- we should be re-imagining the principles of graphicacy to enable people to communicate through cartography
- bring back the aesthetic in map design
- bring the principles of design to a new audience of map-makers
- we don’t want vanilla mapping borne of a single set of principles – we need flavours!
- the key is to communicate why map design is important