10th Mountain Cartography Workshop

The Carl von Stahl Haus, a mountain hut lying 1,736m high among the breathtaking Berchtesgaden Alps and just over the border into Austria, was the venue for the 10th Mountain Cartography workshop from 26th to 30th April 2016, organised by the ICA Commission on Mountain Cartography. The event attracted around 50 delegates from around the world and combined a full programme of presentations with opportunities to explore the landscape as the weather improved. Our two ICA Commissions (Topographic Mapping and Mountain Cartography) discussed plans for a joint workshop to be held at the forthcoming ICC2017 in Washington, D.C. cmc_2016_group

Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)

Amidst over 9,000 delegates from 87 countries, the findings of a pilot project to investigate cultural differences to symbol design and evaluation were presented at this year’s AAG, held in San Francisco, California from 29th March to 2nd April 2016, within series of sessions organised by the ICA Commission on Cognitive Visualization, the ICA Commission on Visual Analytics and the ICA Commission on Use, User, and Usability Issues. The research, conducted by Alex Kent and Jari Korpi, compared the original designs of a series of nine point symbols created by participants from three countries (Finland, Malta, and the UK) and how these were judged within each cohort. We are planning to make the instructions for this simple exercise available for download via the ICA Commission on Topographic Mapping website so that it can be run in  different countries and the results analysed and shared.

If you are interested to learn more about the annual meeting see the highlights here.

Why a new ICA commission?

Our primary aim in establishing this new Commission is to provide a forum for those whose primary focus is the design, production and use of topographic mapping and related geospatial data products. In particular, we intend to facilitate the sharing of best practice in how producers of topographic mapping can better serve the interests of their users in an environment of changing methods of production and dissemination (e.g. from crowd-sourced design to geoportals to print-on-demand).
While it is no longer the sole preserve of state-run mapping institutions, we see the Commission as providing a much-needed interface between national mapping organisations and the international research community by identifying areas of collaboration and establishing links that foster the development and publication of product-focused research.Indeed, topographic mapping carries global significance and we are particularly keen to identify and engage with regional experts who would be willing to work with us in promoting our aims around the globe. Topographic mapping enjoys a rich heritage of theoretical and practical knowledge which we intend to consolidate through the creation of an online glossary, FAQ, and research bibliographies. To facilitate access for research and networking, our Commission website will also provide a global reference point for information on the producers and details of topographic mapping, including contact information and their history and products.
As a new Commission, our first priority is to establish our membership, which should be drawn widely from producers and users of topographic maps. To publicise the new Commission we issued a call in ICA News (No.65) for invitations to sign up via our website for news and updates, which was accompanied by an introduction to the new Commission and its Terms of Reference. We are excited at the prospect of launching this Commission and bringing new members and new ideas to the life and work of the ICA.