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Mapping together

There is a session with a strong neocartography slant in the SoC/BCS conference ‘Mapping together’ in York this September.

Tuesday 10 Sept – Talks Session 3: New Cartography

Evesham Mapped – Richard Phillips & Will Phillips, OSM Volunteers

Neocartography, (new) aesthetics – Steve Chilton, Middlesex University & Alex Kent Canterbury, Christchurch University

Mapping the UK election(s) of 2015 – what was done and did it work? – Danny Dorling, Oxford University

For the full programme and to register, see the conference website.

SoCBCSbannerThis year the Society of Cartographers and the British Cartographic Society conference will be a joint event. It is to be held at the Radisson Park Inn (in York) on the 8th, 9th & 10th of September. The call for contributions is now open for the joint conference, ‘Mapping Together’. Submissions are invited for both papers within the main conference sessions and workshops during the breakout sessions.

Whilst not specifically an ICA or Neocartography event, there will be a neocartography theme as part of it. There is still time to submit an abstract (and get a free day conf attendance if succesfull)

SoC neocartography session 2 Sept – abstracts, bios, and reports

socneocartoThe joint Society of Cartographers and ICA Neocartography Commission session was well attended and had some great feedback. The range of topics was wide, but inter-connected.

This post shows abstracts, biographies, and reports (by Barend Kobben and Steve Chilton) from each of the four sessions. It is hoped to have full articles from some of them in the next SoC Bulletin.twitartem

artemDesigning fast, responsive maps with ‘Mapbox Studio’: cartography for everyone, Artem Pavlenko
Abstract: Take OpenStreetMap (global crowd-sourced data set), throw in open source tools like `Mapbox studio` and we’re all cartographers now. In this talk I will demonstrate how `vector tile technology` allows designers to more easily apply intricate cartographic styles to global data, creating interactive base maps of the whole world. This presentation will walk the audience through the process of designing one such map, highlighting some of the technical and design challenges: multi-language support, varying population densities and landscapes.
Biog: Artem is the creator of Mapnik, the open source map renderer behind many on-line maps including OpenStreetMap. At the moment he’s helping to build a new generation of tools at Mapbox. Artem is an open source advocate and enthusiast and continues to lead Mapnik’s core development. Artem has been involved in geospatial work since 1997. He has a Master’s degree in radio-electronics from the Moscow Institute of Aviation and currently lives with his family in Oxfordshire, England.


flemingThe (OpenStreetMap) State of Scotland 2014, Chris Fleming
Abstract: We will start with a tour of Scotland’s cities looking at them using OpenStreetMap data in a variety of styles. Before considering some of the trends in, OpenStreetMap Data in particularly in Scotland are evolving this year, looking at where this mapping is going and some of the weak spots. As well as some of the community activity and how the data might be translated back into actual maps and useful information for local communities.
Biog: Chris has been playing with making maps since he was let out onto the streets of Johannesburg on his BMX at a young age with pencil and paper, His family moved to England and then he moved to Edinburgh to study Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. He got back into maps when discovering OpenStreetMap in 2007 and works doing software consultancy around Telecoms signalling and OpenStreetMap.



heikkiOpen Source Cartography: Map Design with QGIS, Heikki Vesanto
Abstract: Recent years have seen a dedicated movement towards open data, with more and more datasets becoming available for cartographic use for the general public. The utilization of these datasets is made possible with the emergence of world class free and open source GIS software, prime among them QGIS.
On the processing side QGIS has for a long time been competitive with commercial GIS packages. However over the last few releases QGIS has seen an emphasis on the cartography. QGIS is not meant as a competitor to desktop publishing software, rather the power comes from the ability to use data to drive cartography. The Atlas generator can create a whole atlas driven by a dataset of boundaries, and the symbology can be driven by the data itself. This opens new possibilities for cartography and crating amazing maps.
Biog: Heikki Vesanto is a GIS consultant from Stirling based thinkWhere. Working on the services team providing GIS consultancy, customer support and training. He has an Undergraduate degree from the University of Glasgow in History and Geography, and a Masters from the University of Helsinki in Geoinformatics, with an emphasis on remote sensing. He is passionate about the future of open GIS and the new possibilities it brings.


kayAdventures in cartography with Free And Open Source Tools, Steven Kay
Abstract: In recent years, Free and Open Source Tools have made it possible for people with a non-cartographic background to explore and visualise data geospatially. With the increasing availability of spatial open data from governments and other bodies, and the rise of crowdsourced maps such as OpenStreetMap, members of the public can now analyse and map geographic data in ways difficult to imagine 5 or 10 years ago.  With OpenStreetMap, members of the public are being actively engaged in mapping their neighbourhoods – “citizen mapping” – empowering them to tackle local issues, such as the identification of unused land or areas prone to flooding.
My personal journey in learning to use these tools has been a challenge, but a rewarding one.  Not having a formal cartographic background means that design mistakes will be made. But his opens up the possibility of innovation, discovery and rediscovery in cartographic design. Sharing maps online can also lead to useful critique.  Whether it’s the photogenicity of mountains, mapping poor health, or finding out how our Roman invaders headed us off at the pass, FOSS tools can help us understand and explore the world around us.
Biog: Steven Kay is an Open Source Geospatial Technologist at GeoGeo, working on web and mobile map applications. He has a BSc Hons in Computer Science from Heriot-Watt University and 20 years’ experience in IT, mostly in the Finance sector. He has been an OpenStreetMap contributor for 5 years.

Neocartography session at Society of Cartographers conference, 1-2 Sept

socneocartoI am pleased to announce that the ICA Neocartography Commission is partnering with the Society of Cartographers to present a joint session at the latter’s annual conference in Glasgow on 1-2 Sept 2014.There are a range of topics covered in the session: from Openstreetmap, through QGIS, to the latest vector developments from mapbox. At present there is still one presenting slot available. So, if anyone would like to showcase their work, research or ideas then please contact me:

The full programme is at, with online booking for the conference at: including very reasonable day attendance fees.

Steve Chilton

Neocartography on BBC 5 Live


Whilst I was on a long weekend break in Cornwall I got an email from the producer of the Outriders radio show for BBC Radio 5 Live, saying “We cover hacking and making, digital culture and people who do intriguing things with technology. Basically more of a culture show rather than a gadget show ….. For the next program I am exploring maps and cartography. While reading up on this I came across the term neocartography and of course the [ICA] Commission and you.”

Whilst it was not that convenient I replied to say I would do it (it HAD to be recorded over the weekend). It was to be done by phone or Skype. Although in a remote village in SW England with no mobile phone reception, the wifi was good, so I set time aside for a Skype call, which they recorded for later editing.

I rambled on about neocartography, OSM Haiti, the OS, my work, map design, and more. Unfortunately it had to be cut to fit, so detailed comments around OpenStreetMap and the interesting Haiti earthquake work hit the virtual cutting room floor.

It was broadcast quite late last night, but is available as a podcast (and best played directly from the BBC website rather than downloading). The other contributors were Graham Duncan from Ordnance Survey (on their Minecraft work, following some OS internships), and Saman Bemel Benrud from Mapbox (on creative digital maps).

Call for papers for the Commission-supported LBS2014 symposium

LBS2014 logoThe 11th International Symposium on Location Based Services will be held in Vienna, Austria, 26–28 November 2014.

Several ICA commissions – including Neocartography – will be involved in the event with themed sessions. We are therefore inviting submissions in the field of neocartography and location-based services.

Details can be found in the Call for Papers. Deadline for full papers and work in progress is May 15, 2014. When using EasyChair please make sure to check the “Neocartography” category.

Details of the conference can be found on We hope to see you in Vienna!

Call for papers – joint SoC/ICA session Sept 2014

University_airphotoCALL FOR PAPERS:

The 50th Society of Cartographers conference takes place from 31 Aug-2 Sept 2014 at the University of Glasgow. The afternoon session on Tuesday 2 Sept is to be a joint one, with the ICA Commission in Neocartography [] joining with the SoC for the occasion. This will be a great opportunity for neocartographers and traditional practitioners to meet and discuss their interests.

If you would like to offer a presentation as part of the programme at this event, please email a title and a 200 word abstract to by Fri March 14th. The major themes of the session are:
•       Innovation in proprietary online mapping systems
•       Innovation with open source mapping services
•       Interesting map designs in the new milleau
•       Designing maps for mobile devices
•       Mapping from social media and crowdsourced data

The SoC programme committee will review proposals, and decisions relayed to all who have submitted by Fri 11 April.

Presentations: ICC2013 Dresden pre-conf workshop “Mapping in a digital world”

The ICA Commissions in Neocartography and in Map Design held a pre-conf workshop in Dresden in August. Full details of the programme are available. A short report has also been published on this site. The following links will take you to some of the presentations from that programme [with apologies for them taking so long to appear].

Dresden skyline

Re-Designing the Next Generation of Multi-scale World Topographic Maps: A Changing Landscape (Damien Demaj, Esri Inc) [Slideshare link]

Viewpoints: multiple ways to view the world (Julia Stirnemann, Universität Bern) [Slideshare link]

Color for Online Mapping: Still difficult to choose (Beate Weninger, HafenCity University Hamburg) [Slideshare link]

Map activities in Wikipedia and the cooperation with OpenStreetMap (Tim Alder, Wikipedia/OpenStreetMap activist) [Slideshare link]

Geocollaboration at São Paulo State University, Brazil (Arlette Meneguette, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil ) [Slideshare link]


ICA Workshop – report


The joint ICA pre-conf workshop held by the Neocartography and Map Design Commissions was a great success, being attended by 30 delegates (even though it was 2 days before the main conference started). The President of the Conference Organising Committee (Manfred Buchroithner) welcomed us, and we were pleased to have ICA President Georg Gartner give the opening talk, a thought provoking start to proceedings. We are currently gathering together the presentations which will be linked from here shortly. Co-vice-Chair Andrew Turner has blogged his conference experience here, and for now will just quote his thoughts on the workshop itself:

“The week kicked off with a joint workshop of the Commissions on Map Design and Neocartography hosted by the illustrious Steve Chilton and Ken Field. Throughout the day many of us shared our thoughts and suggestions for the concepts digital, personal, interactive realtime cartography. I will write up my talk separately, but the many other attendees covered insightful areas of work and ideas. Julia Mia Stirnemann, a designer by background, showed the importance of projection in storytelling and perspective demonstrating her WorldMapBuilder. Beate Weninger demonstrated the clear case and design work for better colors in digital cartography – particularly gradient color ramps that affect color vision deficiencies and even situational color blindness caused by ambient environment, lighting, screen displays, and other non-controllable interferences with your maps.”

From left: Georg Gartner introduces the workshop; Beate Weninger’s noise mapping; Steve Chilton’s lightning talk