Mission and Aims

Many examples of new and innovative mapping are being produced outside the normal orbit of existing cartographers or map producers. The term neocartographers is being used to describe map makers who may not have come from traditional mapping backgrounds, and are frequently using open data and open source mapping tools. Another difference is in the blurring of boundaries between map producers and map consumers. The availability of data and tools allows neocartographers to make their own maps, show what they want, and often be the intended audience as well – that is to say they may make the maps for themselves, just because they can. There is a real need for a discipline to be established to study this essentially undisciplined field of neocartography.

This new commission tries to stimulate and bring together research in this area. The aim is to connect ICA and researchers (and practitioners) involved in this new style of mapping who are not currently interacting with the organisation. The idea would be to develop a commission that would seek wider involvement from these cartographers (who may not even think of themselves as such).


Terms of reference 2011-2015

This Commission would be both academic and practical.  The aim is to encourage a more active engagement between cartographers and other individuals/groups in society engaged in new (and often ephemeral) mapping activities.

In 2011-2015 we would:

  • investigate the emergence of Neocartography and develop a web site to act as a shop window and reference point for researchers and practitioners in this area
  • organise sessions at future ICA conferences (commencing with ICC2013 in Dresden) and collaborate and with representatives of other disciplines and ICA Commissions in meetings and seminars (eg Maps and Society)
  • organize specialist conferences/workshops on topics related to Neocartography. These would be local meetings to encourage ICA participation from groups who might not normally do so
  • encourage publication in this area, specifically publication in what may be considered traditional cartography journals – such as the Cartographical Journal, Society of Cartographers Bulletin, and Cartographica
  • support research into, creation of, and dissemination of information about appropriate web-tools
  • hold joint meetings with mapping and allied communities. In the first four years these might focus upon participatory community mapping and map design.


Membership and Interest

Many of the potential membership are not already involved in ICA, and as noted don’t even think of themselves as working in the mapping domain. However, there is already a strong basis of publication in the field from such researchers as Muki Haklay (UK), Sarah Elwood (USA), Andrew Turner (USA), Alexander Zipf (Germany) and Joe Gerlach (UK).

There is not currently a significant presence within ICA that represents this fairly recent field. A trawl of papers from ICC2009 in Chile shows a mere handful of presentations that could be considered relevant. However, there are increasingly frequent and popular events appearing globally in the conference calendar. The following are just some examples which were either specifically targeted to this field, or had significant sections that did, and all took place in 2010: Where2.0 (USA), State of the Map (Spain), Society of Cartographers (UK), FOSS4G (Spain). Furthermore, much significant activity takes place at so-called ‘unconferences’ (often free, freeform and self-organised by the contributors). Examples of the latter from 2010 include: W3G (UK), Wherecamp (USA and UK).

6 thoughts on “Mission and Aims

  1. Pingback: From geovisualisation to neocartography: Maps in a digital world | Views of the World

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  3. It is good to see this endeavor getting underway. Neocartography is the graphic/visual side of neogeography/volunteered geographic information, of course, and might well come to dominate the ICA agenda.

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