Practical Cartography Day

How does design makes a difference?

The NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) conference 2011 is being held in Madison, Wisconsin, a beautiful city situated between lakes Mendota and Monona. The first day of the conference kicked off with a Practical Cartography Day, which consisted of 13 speakers presenting short presentations about matters as diverse as working with LIDAR to thematic cartography using Javascript.


Speakers concentrated on tips and techniques for various cartographic, GIS and programming software, such as Adobe Illustrator and ArcGIS, plus open source software such as OpenLayers, TileMill, TextureShading, Mapnik, HighRoad, Dymo, Tilestache and others.

Fitting with the theme of the conference—how does design make a difference?–the overwhelming message to take from all the speakers was that while the delivery method of spatial information may be changing, good design is still important.

Speakers from National Geographic and The New York Times, presented insight into how they go about creating complex infographics and maps for simultaneous print and web delivery, whilst Stamen Design discussed various methods for creating web maps and Development Seed discussed cartographic design using the TileMill app.

The day rounded out with a keynote presentation by Patrick Hoffman, from Google, Sydney looking at the design of icons for Google Maps and what considerations go into creating striking and easily-understood map icons.

More posts to come on the following days of the conference.

Craig Molyneux


Craig Molyneux is one of Spatial Vision’s visualisation experts. He is responsible for delivering high quality print and digital visualisations for Spatial Visions varied clients. A professional cartographer with over 30 years of experience, many of his recent projects have used print and digital technology as a tool for map delivery.

Craig has extensive experience in the management of multi-disciplinary project teams and the design and production of visualisations across a broad range of areas and themes.

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