Mapping in a digital world – ICA pre-conf workshop Sat Aug 24th

International Cartographic Conference 2013 Dresden, Germany
Preconference workshop: Saturday August 24th 09:00-17:00


Organized by the ICA Commissions on Map Design and Neocartography, this one-day workshop will explore practical themes relating to the design of effective online maps and information products; focusing on realtime, interactivity and design not only of the map but of the user interface and experience to support cartography..

Morning presentations by a range of acknowledged experts in the field will seek to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art as well as touch on some of the challenges we face. Participants are encouraged to contribute to the workshop in two ways; either through offering a 15 minute paper on their own work in this area; or through a lightning talk. We may also do some lightning talks on the day so please come prepared to contribute to the workshop! Finally, we will share ideas and seek to develop common threads to take work in this area forward as part of a panel discussion.

Call for papers

Short papers: We invite short papers (15 mins with 5mins for questions) on aspects of design as it relates to web mapping for inclusion.  Specifically of interest are conceptual and practical contributions exploring the design of maps in web and mobile environments, aesthetics, geovisualization, art in (and of) cartography and assessments of new and innovative methods.  We are particularly interested in the challenges facing cartography in web and mobile environments and how it responds by re-imagining traditional practice in new technological paradigms.

Lightning talks: We also invite 5 minute lightning talks that share an idea, open a debate or deal with a very specific issue. These aren’t the place for long expositions and discussions of detailed research…simple ideas, eloquently expressed and fast!

To submit a paper or lighting talk idea please email Kenneth Field (

Confirmed speakers for the morning sessions
Kenneth Field (Esri)
Steve Chilton (Middlesex University)
Gary Gale (Nokia)
Andrew Turner (GeoIQ & Esri)
Damien Demaj (Esri)
Alexander Kent (University of Canterbury)
Bernhard Jenny (Oregon State University)
more to be announced…

You may register for the workshop (which is FREE to attend) at

Web site of the ICA Commission on Map Design:
Web site of the ICA Commission on Neocartography:


Neocartography: research and publications

Having just added a book to the publications page, it seems a good time to remind commission supporters that we would like your research and publications in the field of neocartography to be included here. Please see the research and publications pages and forward information as appropriate.

The book just added was: Hennig, Benjamin D (2013). Rediscovering the World: Map Transformations of Human and Physical Space. Heidelberg / New York / Dordrecht / London (Springer). Ben gave an excellent presentation on this work at the Neocartography Commission Workshop at UCL in September, the video of which is still available from the workshop link and from Ben’s blog.

Future of Digital Mapping

Neocartography Commission vice-chair Andrew Turner interviewed on a podcast for CBC. In it Nora Young and Andrew Turner discuss the future of digital mapmaking. Andrew is CTO of the Esri Research and Development Center in Washington, D.C. where he’s involved with open tools for mapmaking. It is a good conversation covering a lot of ground – open data, how the big players are changing, and how social aspects have changed.

Mapmaking is in the news again, particularly with developments like the report on the BBC website today – ‘Nokia Maps digitises streets to battle Google’s threat‘. Andrew finishes the interview with positive thoughts on the future (and I have paraphrased/edited here): “We will all be guiding it. We have a much bigger voice now. Whether commenting or choosing to use particular maps or not. We have the tools to build maps. I am going to make my own. The maps we have will become much more visceral and portray what we would like to see“.


ICC Conference, Dresden 2013

The 26th International Cartographic Conference will take place in Dresden, Germany, 25–30 August 2013. Visit for details.

The conference will provide a forum for the presentation of scientific papers illustrating the current work of the research community, professional papers describing the cutting-edge methods employed by mapping organisations, meetings of the ICA Commissions (including the Neocartography Commission) and Working groups, map exhibitions and the chance to meet with colleagues and friends from all over the world.

The deadline for abstract submission is approaching. To start your submission please visit We are hoping to have both a pre-conf workshop (in conjunction with the ICA Commission on Map Design) and also themed session within the programme.

Important Dates

Paper Submission Deadline November 1, 2012
Papers Acceptance Notification January 14, 2013
Final Paper Deadline March 15, 2013
Authors Registration Deadline March 15, 2013

Commission workshop at UCL: slide decks, reports, videos

The first ICA Neocartography Commission workshop, held at UCL on 5 Sept, was a very successful event – being attended by 36 delegates, 16 of whom had attended the Society of Cartographers Conference earlier in the day. This post has some slides and videos from the workshop. The twitter backchannel is available at: #soc2012

Ben Hennig (U of Sheffield) “From geovisualisation to neocartography: Maps in a digital world” – Ben’s blog post with embedded Slideshare of presentation — Direct link to slides

Richard Fairhurst (OSM Foundation) “The unstoppable advance of OpenStreetMap”

Chris Watson “Hyperreal Augmented Narratives”

Graham Hooper “Drawing on Psychogeography – GPS, photography and the new-map”

Ifan Shepherd (Middlesex University): “Maps – GIS – Experiental Engagement: a possible roadmap for Neocartography”

Gary Gale (Nokia) “History Repeats Itself And So Does The Map“ – Gary’s blog post with embedded Slideshare of presentation

Programme details: ICA Commission on Neocartography, 5th Sept

The first formal Neocartography Commission session is set to start directly after the Society of Cartographers conference, and will be held from 3-45pm to 7-15pm at UCL (in London) on Wednesday 5th September.  The themes have been chosen to meet the commission’s aims – with speakers asked to think broadly, and be interesting. to book a place (Free)

4.00 Welcome – Steve Chilton (ICA Commission Chair)
4.10 Ben Hennig (U of Sheffield) “From geovisualisation to neocartography: Maps in a digital world”
4.40 Richard Fairhurst (OSM Foundation) “The unstoppable advance of OpenStreetMap”
5.10 Lightning talk: Chris Watson “Hyperreal Augmented Narratives”
5.20 Coffee
5.40 Lightning talk: Graham Hooper “Drawing on Pyschogeography – GPS, photography and the new-map”.
5.50 Prof Ifan Shepherd (Middlesex University) “Maps – GPS – Experiential Engagement: a possible roadmap for Neocartography?”
6.20 Gary Gale (Nokia) “History Repeats Itself And So Does The Map“
6.50 Close – Steve Chilton

For info on getting there, see:
Abstracts are available in the previous post.

Commission session at UCL, 5th Sept

Am currently planning the first formal Neocartography Commission session. It is set to start directly after the Society of Cartographers conference, and will be held from 3-45pm to 7-15pm at UCL (in London) on Wednesday 5th September.  The themes chosen hopefully meet the commission’s aims – with speakers asked to think broadly, and be interesting.

UPDATE: The first speaker confirmed is Gary Gale of Nokia, who will be giving the keynote entitled “History Repeats Itself And So Does The Map“. Also confirmed are Dr Ben Hennig (University of Sheffield) giving a presentation entitled “From geovisualisation to neocartography: Maps in a digital world”, and Richard Fairhurst (OSM Foundation) giving a global update on OpenStreetMap maps and data, entitled “The unstoppable advance of OpenStreetMap“. There will also be a number of ‘lightning talks’, including: Chris Watson on “Hyperreal Augmented Narratives“, and Graham Hooper with “Drawing on Psychogeography”. JUST ADDED: Prof Ifan Shepherd talks on “Maps – GIS – Experiential Engagement: a near-future timeline for Neocartography?” to book a place (Free)

Gary Gale: History has a habit of repeating itself and so does the map. From primitive scratchings, through ever more sumptuous pieces of art, through to authoritative geographical representations, the map changes throughout history. Maps speak of the hopes, dreams and prejudices of their creators and audience alike, and with the advent of neogeography and neocartography, maps are again as much art as they are geographical information.
Ben Hennig: This paper examines the state of the map in the digital world and the internet age about thirty years after digital technology has entered the broader cartographic practice. The main advances in most recent mapping techniques and methods of geospatial analysis are outlined. Based on that, suggestions for new directions of cartographic research and practice are made that take the implications of digital and internet technology into account. Based on the mapping techniques developed in this thesis, some examples are given of how digital and web technology could be used to improve the domain of cartographic practice for digital map publishing.
Prof Ifan Shepherd: Maps are a cornerstone of GIS, and a great deal of their future seems bound up with this more recent technology. An emerging direction for GIS – and thus of maps – is readily apparent in the alternative reality technology of videogames. In this presentation, I will propose a framework for the integration of GIS and videogame technology which seeks to extend the analytical role of the former by embracing the experiential engagement of the latter. In making this case, I will confront the supposedly ‘problematic’ issues of realism, fun, emotion and narrative which appear to be stumbling blocks in harnessing experiential engagement to assist the interpretation of virtual geographical environments.
Graham Hooper: My interest lies in the relationship between spaces (real and/or imagined) and their inter-relationship with emotional and behavioural states. I am operating from a semi-documentary stance, aware of the heritage of the American colourists and ‘New Topographers’ of the 1960/70’s.  Increasingly I am experimenting with modes of realisation that utilise mixed-media integration – images with inherent sounds and smells, or incorporating hand-drawn maps, for example. Most of my work exists in series, as sequential studies, and as such exist as typologies. I then re-present my work in its original context.
Chris Watson: The borders between the real and unreal are blurred. The faith we put into a manufactured landscapes, the trust we place in a machine for everything we do, where we go, getting up with alarm clocks, people running their lives from phones, are absorbed
by media. Augmented reality offers a further medium to enhance and exploit this fantasy and reliance on the machine of technology. I intend to show how augmented reality can integrate aspects of this media machine-fueled reality, or hyperreality as I suggest it becomes, to further enhance the world outdoors through the Creative Maps project.

What’s Neo?

Two new pages have been added to the website, for Publications and Research. You are invited to submit your information to either or both of these pages. If you have published something that fits with the aims of the Commission please send me the details. If you are an individual or part of a research group that also is researching in this area please also send the details. It would be good to get a feel for the work that supporters of the Commission are involved in, so please do respond and I will upload details.

Year of the Open Map

Various people have been throwing about phrases like “year of the Open Map” and “rolling your own map tiles” recently. This has been in response to the announcement at the end of October that Google Maps was to charge for usage. From 1 January Google has been charging for the Google Maps API service when more than the limit of 25,000 map “hits” are made in a day, a situation that many websites such as travel firms and estate agents will easily face. Over Christmas property search engine Nestoria came out with the news that they were switching in a blog posting by Ed Freyfogle entitled Why (and how) we’ve switched away from Google Maps which gives some very good background reasoning, and the route taken (OSM to MapQuest to Leaflet to Mapstraction). On Jan 9 Wired picked up on this and carried an extensive article entitled Open Source Maps Gain Ground as Google Paywall Looms which has a pretty good analysis of the OpenStreetMap, Mapquest and Bing/Microsoft positions in all of this. Following on from that there has been a really excellent post entitled Good bye, Google Maps… thanks for all the fish from Sebastian Delmont (which rather deliciously is in Google+). This explains in detail why his company StreetEasy have gone down the  OpenStreetMap, TileMill, MapBox and Leaflet route for their map switch. What is even more useful is the comprehensive exploration of the options and the fantastic number of useful URLs. An earlier blog posting from Fubra also covers some alternative maps such as Bing, Ovi and OS OpenSpace. So, if you are interested in what the options are then read these posts. If you’re in London, why not go to the next #geomob event on 16 February where Ed Freyfogle will be giving a talk about their move away from Google Maps.
UPDATE: Although my original take was on availability and deployment of online maps, Steven Feldman’s blog post on “The beginning of the end of Free?” is worth a look as it goes a little more into the economics.
UPDATE: The OpenStreetMap community (coordinated by Richard Fairhurst) has compiled a switch2osm website which clearly explains the whys and hows of changing.

New Year, New Activities

Coming to the end of 2011 and time to welcome in the new year. Just a short post to announce a new page on this website and plans for 2012. There is now an Events page, which will be showing events to chime with the theme of neocartography. Please take a look at the events and participate if you can. Also, please use this arena for publicising your own event if it is appropriate. There is a link on the page for submitting information. Further pages for research and publications are currently being developed, and will be available shortly. We are actively working on plans for Commission sessions in 2012 as well, details soon. Suggestions and offers will also also gratefully received.

So, it just remains for me to wish you a Happy Neo-Year!