A weblog for members of the Canadian Cartographic Association and other individuals interested in all things cartographic

Golden Gate Suicide Map

San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is not only a popular tourist attraction but also a popular place to commit suicide. Abut 19 suicides occur there on average every year. The San Fransisco Chronicle has a story about the bridge’s more macabre attraction, including a map and a time chart.

By way of CartoTalk.


Boston HyperMap Atlas

Like Very Spatial (a couple of interesting comments there already), I received a press release from StrataVarious (good name) regarding the Boston HyperMap Atlas. It’s an interesting combination of Google Maps and their own mapping, displaying points of interest, sites, buildings, hotels, etc. around Boston. The Google Maps portion is for the smaller scale mapping; zoooming in brings in another, different set of data. It’s an interesting concept but initially a little disconcerting to see a very different style of map at the larger scales. The Google Map portion is fairly static - no panning around on this one. Additionally, layers can be turned on and off for querying and highlighting. A good idea - not necessarily a new one - but one that needs a little more clarity to become intuitive. But then, perhaps I’ve become a little too jaded in my expectations . . . .


ArcGIS Explorer

Some more details on ESRI’s upcoming release of ArcGIS Explorer from the ESRI website and from GIS Matters by David Macguire from Redlands, California. Release date is 2006.


This is the last part of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

All of the online mapping services reviewed offer essentially the same product: a map showing location or a set of directions. Some offer better directions than others but, for the most, there is little separating them but appearances and useability. Appearances are often a matter of taste - something that Maporama has recognized with its plethora of map style options. Useability is essential when the task is to offer quick maps and directions. In this area Google Maps / Local does well. The single search box is ideal - no clicking on dropdown boxes to select a country or tabbing to the next box to complete the field.

What online mapping serivce is used depends alot on user habit. Yahoo! Maps had the largest market share this past summer but there is nothing unique about it to recommend it over other services. Similarly, I will continue to use Google Maps / Local for quick directions in spite of the fact that the lack of data layers other than roads - especially minor water features - annoys me.

Below are a series of tables that indicate what each of the online mapping sites offer.

(Apologies for the gif versions of the tables; Blogspot doesn’t seem to like tables.)

Table 1: Search Interfaces

* Canada and the United States are lumped together; the rest of the world is treated differently. † Saved searches appear on a page other than the start page.
‡ Apparently a number of the online mapping serivces offer latitude and longitude search but in my web travels this was not obvious.

Table 2: Map Display

* Can only save as gif in static mode.
† Geo here means geographic projection. In the cases where it varies, it is not always obvious what projection is being used except for, perhaps, the smaller scale zoom levels.

Table 3: Data Layers

* Minor water features - both lakes and rivers - show up only as signle lines.
† Greenspace does not appear in all locations.
‡ Golf courses are identified but not explicitly so.

Table 4: Directions

* Units used depends on the starting point (e.g. United States = miles, Canada = kilometres)
† Either miles or kilometres can be selected prior to searching for directions.


A Review of Online Mapping Sites: Yahoo! Maps

This is part 8 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Presumably Yahoo! Maps is the market leader in the online mapping business (at least as of this past summer). The search page is standard and searches are saved if you have logged into a Yahoo! account (free). Only Canada and the United States were available to search from (although other Yahoo! sites probably map other countries).

The initial map is of adequate size and shows roads, railroads, parks, water bodies, and commercial and industrial areas in various pastels. There are labels for features of interest including parks, health centres, cemeteries, and golf courses. One way streets are not indicated. The map style is consistent through all scales.

Directions from point A to B are one click away. The suggested route was the same as the test route but listed its length as slightly longer (42.2 km versus 41.3). Yahoo! Maps provided the slowest time of all the online map services with 56 minutes (compared to the actual of 32).

In short: Yahoo! Maps is simple to use. Though it lacks some of the functionality of the other online mapping sites, it adequately does what it is intended to do.

Tomorrow: Summary


Risk Maps

Risk Management Solutions has put together a number of maps showing levels of risk from various causes. Similar to maps AON has put together and mentioned earlier in this blog, these maps include terrorist and natural disaster risks. Maps are available to view at a resolution not high enough to read. Read an IndustrySearch news article on the maps.


This is part 7 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Rand McNally offers a functional but non-descript map to its users. The search tool is fairly standard but it does not require a user to specify a country. Being that there are only two countries to choose from (Canada and the US) this is probably a good thing. Once having visited the search page, it does remember what addresses you have looked for.

The initial map is fairly small (492 x 292 pixels) but there is an option to create a larger map. There are 10 zoom levels. Maps contain roads, railroads, water bodies (although minor water boides are shown as single lines) and provincial or state parks. Major roads appear as double lines and minor roads and streets show up as single lines. The placement of street names appears clunky and does not curve to follow features. In some case, text ran into other text. One way streets were not indicated. Maps appeared colourless and somewhat bland.

To get directions from point A to point B, it is necessary to navigate to another page, two clicks of the mouse away. There is a fastest / shortest option but in the test case this did not seem to make a difference. The directions provided seemed to me to be unusual.

In case I felt the need for better or more maps than what I was being offered on the web, Rand McNally advertised its own paper road atlases and told me what page I'd be able to find my destination on.

In short: the Rand McNally online mapping site is adequate for finding locations but not directions. With other sites offering similar products, it’s probably best to go elsewhere.

Tomorrow: Yahoo! Maps


Big Globes

Big globes are rare but not unusual. The image to the left is one I took when I was in Savannah, Georgia a few years ago and is a natural gas tank painted up as a globe. It makes a great globe but one of the benefits of smaller globes is that they can be spun and viewed from different angles. With this globe, the viewer is essentially stuck with a southern hemisphere perspective (not such a bad thing for northerners to experience from time to time).

The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity has had a 30 foot diameter globe since 1935. The beauty of this globe is that, not only is it made of stained glass, but it is meant to be viewed from the inside. Based on Rand McNally’s 1934 world map, it shows the world as it was back then, with very different borders. The Library website has more background information and a gallery of photos.

By way of Designorati.


Surveillance and Privacy Map

MetaMute is a magazine that discusses the inter-relationship of art and new technology. In its July 2002 issue it included a beautiful security and surveillance and privacy map, using Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion projection. It’s a downloadable pdf and is about 38 inches x 28 inches in size. There is lots of information relating to security, surveillance and privacy. If you feel ambitious enough, you can print the map and make your own globe.

By way of Great Map.


Florida Power Outages

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has a map showing power outages the resulted from the passage of Hurricane Wilma. What the map doesn’t tell you are the percentages of customers per county that have lost electricity. The map gives the impression that things are worse in the Miami area - which they may or may not be. A colour, slightly different, version of the map is also available.


This is part 6 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

MSN Maps provides a simple interface and a simple map, though distracting advertising appears on its pages. It is not spectacular and replete with a multiude of functions but it does what it is meant to do quickly and easily. The drop down box for the country listing defaults to the United States but most western countries are available to choose from.

The map is available in 3 different sizes - inidicated clearly by boxes of varying sizes at the top of the map. There are 11 different scales at which to view the map and the map style is fairly consistent throughout all of them. Roads, major water features, railroads and airports appear on the map but little else. Minor water features, inlcuding lakes, appear as single lines. Street text appears on the single line streets, making it a bit harder to read.

A couple of useful options are offered for finding directions. As well as the shortest / fastest option, MSN Maps offers a standard map and what it calls a “LineDrive” option which strips away all non-route information and provides a simple line map of only the route. I can see this being of particular use to those who are cartographically challenged. Distance of the test route was slightly longer than the actual (42.1 kilometres versus 41.3) and the estimated time was similarly very close to the actual (34 minutes versus 32).

In short: MSN Maps’ LineDrive option for its directions map is about the only thing to set it apart from any of the other maps services. For those who are cartographically challenged, this may be enough.

Tomorrow: Rand McNally


Web Mapping

Directionsmag has a couple of related articles of interest. The first seeks to dispell some of the myths about web mapping; the second talks about the Katrina Imagery Warehouse - a perfect example of the success of web mapping (as well as a great resource).


ESRI responds

I guess it was only a matter of time before ESRI came out with something comparable to Google Earth, Virtual Earth and World Wind. Announced at their European Users’ Conference in warsaw, ESRI indicated that ArcGIS Explorer would soon be available for free download. Writes Ed Parsons, it “will connect to a dedicated ArcWeb server farm at ESRI providing an experience similar to Google Earth.” No details yet on the ESRI website but expect it to make a splash when it is released. This is good news for those who use the ESRI suite of products on a regular basis.

Read more details at ed parsons and Vector One.


Mapping American Toponymy

One blogger has taken it upon himself to map toponymic differences in the United States. His maps and his thoughts on the process, are posted on his blog pfly. The brook versus stream map is probably the most stark.


Fast Food Restaurant Maps

Ian Shapiro has created a Google Maps mashup showing the locations of fast food restaurants in the United States. With the mashup the user is able to zoom, pan and identify. He has also produced a couple of static maps (with curious projections) that better show the spatial distribution of some of these restaurants. Fast food is never far away.

By way of Google Maps Mania.


This is part 5 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Mapquest’s search page is separate from its map page and requires users to complete a number of separate text boxes. This is generally not a problem unless one needs to search for an address outside of Canada or the United States at which point the user needs to go to another page. Users can search by address or postal code. A nice feature that’s available are saved searches; unfortunately, this does not appear immediately at Mapquest’s main page. This secondary page also offers users the option of searching by latitude and longitude values.

Unlike Google Maps / Local, Mapquest maps do show minor rivers and lakes; in fact, depending on the area being mapped, Mapquest offers a surprising number of data layers on its maps, including city parks, industrial and commerical areas and significant buildings. Placement of street names, however, is clunky. One way streets are not indicated.

From the list of countries in its drop down box, it appears that Mapquest covers a good chunk of the world; however, not all of these are mapped at the most detailed level (for example).

A test of the directions capability of Mapquest resulted in route that followed the test route but was listed as 42.2 km instead of the actual 41.3 km. Estimated drive time, however, was only 35 minutes, 3 minutes longer than the actual. Both distance and drive time is the same as Maporama’s.

In short: There are no bells and whistles available here but Mapquest is perfectly adequate (with the exception of providing directions on one way streets) to the task of finding directions and locations.

Tomorrow: MSN Maps


A Review of Online Mapping Sites: Maporama

This is part 4 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Maporama’s search interface is rather non-descript. Aside from the usual address fields that users must complete, there is also the country name drop-down box that is defaulted to the United Kingdom. Once having visited the site, it seems to save the last search and automatically populates the fields accordingly (at least during a session of use). The resulting map is where Maporama stands out from the other online mapping sites.

As well as offering users six choices in map size, it allows users to select from over 30 different map set map styles, many of them curiously named after countries. If you prefer the double line streets, pick one of the European styles. If you like the single line streets, pick one of the US styles. In the Standard mode, a wealth of layers are displayed, including parks, large buildings, and commercial and industrial areas (depending on the area being looked at and the scale of the display). Also included are street numbers posted alongside each street, between each block. Users might find this helpful or distracting, depending on their perspective. Some of the text placement was surprisingly blatant in running into each other (see image ot the right).

For finding directions from A to B Maporama has the shortest / fastest option, as do some of the other online mapping services, but also offers the option of going on foot or by subway. Strangely, in the test set of directions, Maporama’s fastest option took longer than its shortest distance. The shortest distance resulted in the same route as the test route which Maporama suggested was 42.2 km long (actual 41.3) and would take 35 minutes to complete (actual 32).

In short: if you are looking to be able to customize the appearance and style of a map, then Maporama is the site to use. Other than this feature, Maporama is a fairly standard and basic online mapping site.

Tomorrow: Mapquest


Maps as State Secrets

There have been a few items in the news lately of countries complaining about Google Earth’s satellite imagery being a secuirty threat. This is not so unusual in that maps were often considered state secrets - and still are. Forbes.com has a story about a U. K. oil company running afoul of Roussian authorities for having 1:25,000 maps. Apparently the problem is “that foreigners were not permitted to see large-scale maps of the country. The government is said to be sensitive to foreign firms having access to exact data on Russia's oil reserves. ” The Moscow Times has a slightly more detailed story.


Google Earth vs. Virtual Earth

If you ever wanted to compare the imagery in Google Earth to the imagery in Mircosoft’s Virtual Earth, now is your opportunity. BunkerShot.com, a golfing web site, has put together a Flash viewer that draws on imagery from both of these viewers. The focus, is of course, on golf course, but the viewer allows users to zoom in and and out and pan about, making it possible to wander far from the fairways. Note the shift in imagery between the two providers.

By way of Google Maps Mania.


This is part 3 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Map24 is a German-based company that has taken a slightly different approach to offering its services. It works much like the other online mapping sites by having a user search for an address or a set of directions but it uses Java-script to produce its maps in a separate frame. The initial map takes slightly longer to load but once loaded, it offers more functionality than most of the other online map services. Unfortunately, the map is initially zoomed in too far and does not provide enough context.

In contrast to Google Maps / Local, Map24 has sought to include a number of useful functions. Information about a feature or area can be brought up by allowing the cursor to hover over it. As well, users can measure a distance or route manually. Aside from having the usual zoom in and and out buttons, Map24 offers a button that will zoom out from the map briefly, then zoom back in so the user can orient themselves to the larger area. As well, a sort of pop-up window shows a little locator map. Users who register will be able to save their settings and up to 10 separate addresses (although during testing I was unable to find the save button described in the Help menu).

The map itself was simple but showed only single lines for some wider rivers and lakes. Some of the annotation and symbols tended to run into each (see image to the left). Data layers on the map include roads, airports, railways, water bodies and provincial / state / national parks. At the smaller scale levels, maps display gas stations, hotels and auto service centres.

Map24 splits up the world into continents or sub-continents. North America covers Canada, the United States and Mexico. Other areas covered include Europe, South America, and parts of the Middle East. To access a country in another continent, users need to click on the continent, then select the country from the dropdown list.

Direction-finding is similar to other web mapping sites but also has a few more features. Users can select between fastest and shortest options as well as indicating if they would like to know of any services such as banks, cinemas, churches, service centers among many others. As well, Map24 allows users to input their estimated speed on highways, roads and streets. This provides a fairly accurate indication of the time any trip might take (barring traffic tie-ups). With such fine tuning to my estimated speed I was able to come up with a time that was fairly close to my actual time (31 versus 32). The difference in the distance for the same route was less than a kilometre.

In short: Map24 probably provides more features than any other online mapping service and is probably the site of choice for those who would like more functionality. Navigating about the site, however, takes a bit of time getting used to. The site is not for someone looking for a quick and easy map.

Tomorrow: Maporama


A Review of Online Mapping Sites: Google Maps / Local

This is part 2 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Google Maps / Local has one text box that users need to fill in, unlike most of the other web mapping services. Users can enter a street address, a postal code or latitude or longitude values, hit Enter and display their map. Aside from offering the standard street map view, Google Maps / Local also offers a satellite / air photo view (depending on the area being looked at). This feature is more fun than it is useful.

Google Maps / Local provides one map size (depending on the user’s screen user), and 18 zoom levels. Additionally, the user has the option of seeing locations mapped against a standard street map, a satellite image, or a combination of the two. Road numbers seem to be symbolized disproportionately relative to place names (see image at right).

The maps appears in muted colours and are simple and clear. Very little data shows up on the map other than road data. This creates a clean looking map but one key data layer that is missing, at least on the Canadian side, is minor water features. In the test location map (see image at left), for instance, the local river and lake do not appear; the satellite view shows what water should appear. Obviously, this is can be a little confusing.

Navigating about the map is simple and more responsive than other online mapping sites. Where most sights require the user to click on one of the arrows surrounding the map, Google Maps / Local allows the user to drag the map about.

Currently from maps.google.ca or maps.google.com only Canada, United States, Ireland, Japan and the United Kingdom show up with detailed roads maps. A drawback of Google Maps is the inability to save the map as an image for use in other applications. Instead, users need to run a screen capture in order to save the map.

Directions from A to B can be easily accessed through a link at the top of the page. The test directions estimated the distance between the two points to be 41.6 km, slightly off from the actual driven distance of 41.3 km even though the suggested route was exactly the same as the driven route. There is no shortest / quickest route option.

In short: Google Maps / Local is spare and attractive. It is ideally suited for the quick search for locations or directions. For users seeking more than this, it might be worthwhile to go elsewhere.

Tomorrow: Map24


A Review of Online Mapping Sites: Introduction

ZDNET reported on a Hitwise survey conducted in July, 2005 that indicated Yahoo! Maps captured 41% of the users in the online mapping market (presumably in the American market only), followed by MapQuest at 33.4%. Relative newcomer (at the time) Google Maps captured less than 10% of the market and other online mapping services captured less than 5%. The statistics might have changed since then but are the most popular online mapping sites the best? A comparitive survey might be useful.

Seven online mapping services were considered. For an online mapping service to be considered, it had to provide

  1. street maps for central Ontario (my home base) and
  2. directions between two locations in the same area.
This is obviously a very biased approach to deciding what to include and others will have different standards. The online mapping services considered included the following:

Each site was assessed by user interface, search capabilities, maps, and results. Over the next several days each of the above online mapping site will be reviewed.

October 23: Google Maps / Local
October 24: Map24
October 25: Maporama
October 26: Mapquest
October 27: MSN Maps
October 28: Rand McNally
October 29: Yahoo! Maps
October 30: Summary


Fool's World Map

Recently the CommonConsensus site has been highlighted by a number of other blogs (see the Map Room, etc.). CommonConsensus seeks to take user input to map the United States in terms of spheres of influence. Zen-Style has done something similar but a little less formal and a little less serious with the world map. This is a map filled with common misconceptions and errors, hotlinked to more misconceptions and errors. Also interesting are previous versions at the very bottom of the page, filled with obvious biases.


The New York Times has a story (free registration required) about a 1978 map of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge that has gone missing. The map is legally binding and there are no other paper or digital copies of it. This is crucial since the current debate on where oil drilling can occur depends on what is or is not mapped. Doug Vandegraft, the cartographer who was the last known person to see the map, suspects that it was accidentally thrown out. Nevertheless, the circumstances look suspicious. “Mr. Vandegraft said he had folded the map in half, cushioned within its foam-board backing, and put it behind the filing cabinet in the locked room for safekeeping. He said he was distraught when he learned of the loss. In its place in the original nook, he said, he found a new, folded piece of foam board similar to the old one - but with no map attached. ”

By way of Geocarta.


Useability in Web Mapping

Directions.mag has an article on how to ensure that a web mapping site is useable. It’s filled with a number of useful tips and suggestions that anyone who is putting together a web mapping site should heed as well as a few examples.


Font Resources

As anyone who makes maps knows, one of the key elements in making a map look good are the fonts that are used. New fonts can inspire a new look but can be expensive to purchase. Vitaly Friedman has a list of the “20 Best License-Free Official Fonts” - in other words, fonts to be used for business or professional purposes (you won't find Comic Sans here!). Aside from listing of these fonts, the site also includes links to other free font resources. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. Nevertheless, a site to bookmark and use for when inspiration is needed.

By way of J. Mostoway.


Cartographic Database Development

Geoplace has an article on the “marriage” of cartography and GIS and, more specifically, the process of developing a cartographic database. Worthwhile for those who have a more technical bent.


Map Symbols

Symbols.net has a listing of links to various sites with cartographic symbols. The listing is limited but it's worht checking out. Some of the other categories might be worth checking out as well, if only for inspiration.

By way of Great Map.


Google Maps Diplomacy (2)

In the tricky world of international politics, it quicky becomes apparent that moving to please someone will inevitably make someone else unhappy. In this case, Google Maps / Local changed the wording around their maps and removed “Taiwan, Province of China” to simply “Taiwan.” This has made some of the Taiwanese happy but angered its big neighbour China. Read a news story about China’s displeasure or the previous blog entry about Taiwan’s.


Photos from NACIS XXV

Here are a few photos submitted by readers of last week’s NACIS conference:

Above: David Rumsey and Judith Tyner (Cal State Long Beach). Photo by Valerie Krejcie.
Above photo by Jeremy Crampton.
Above: NACIS Board member Margaret Pearce (Ohio University) cutting a cake with the new NACIS logo. Photo by Valerie Krejcie.
Above, left to right: George McCleary (U. Kansas), Denis Wood (The Power of Maps), and Max Baber (Samford U). Photo by Valerie Krejcie.
Above photo by Jeremy Crampton.


Corruption Perception Index Map

Transparency International has released its annual corruption perception index, a reflection of countries’ level of corruption. Not surprisingly, Western countries fair relatively well (although Canadians might be a little concerned about their drop to 14th overall). A map (pdf) and table are available from the TI website.


Bird Flu Maps

The latest strain of avian influenza or bird flu, known as H5N1, seems to be making its way axross Asia to Europe and, quite likely, beyond. A number of maps depicting this progress are available on the Internet. Recombinomics has a few maps, one for May and every month after that. October’s map shows all the cases to date. Unfortunately, their base map is just horrible. Better to visit the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization for bi-weekly maps - still, not the best maps (incomplete base maps, unprojected maps, etc.) but better. The UN’s ReliefWeb site has a much improved map showing bird flu outbreaks, but it is dated July 25, 2005. More is likely to come.


NACIS XXV: Practical Cartography Day

The following report on the North American Cartographic Information Society’s Practical Cartography Day was kindly provided by Martin Gamache:

This year’s Practical Cartography Day was organised by Steve Spindler and Erik Steiner who did an excellent job. Steve and Gerry Krieg presented on 3d building illustration using Illustrator and Sketchup. Gerry's tutorial on creating buildings is available online. Following this was a presentation by Nat Case of Hedberg Maps on using InDesign CS2 to generate complex indices from data stored in databases. He praised the virtues of InDesign with features such as tagged text and paragraph, character and nested styles.

The rest of the morning was given over to the Adobe team who came to demonstrate some new features of the CS2 suite and to adressing some of the cartographers’ concerns on all topics except the one we were all most curious about: the merger! They demonstrated the powerful Bridge interface as well as new features of Illustrator CS2 such as the new control palette, live trace and live paint.They demonstrated the power of nested symbols for global editability as well as numerous productivity shortcuts enabled by the creation of templates. A conversation with the engineer afterwards adressed my concerns of how Freehand will be merged into the Adobe family and he encouraged the cartography community to let our views known on which of Freehand’s features are important to us. Some of the audience members who have had issues with the new type engine also graphically illustrated to the Adobe folks what it was they were having issues with.

The afternoon session was taken up by a demonstration of Avenza’s new raster manipulation plug-in for Photoshop which allows one to reproject, resize and crop geo-aware rasters such as Geotiffs. The price point for this new tool will likely be around $500 US and the software is now in the beta-testing phase. This friendly tool promises to be useful for the non-GIS using cartographers out there.

Tom Patterson followed this up with a graphically wonderful (as always) presentation on his new dataset Natural Earth. I hesitate to say much about this as the website is very complete. The data is free and will save you alot of time and help you create beautiful color backgrounds.

Martin Gamache then gave a presentation on the use of overseas contractors for outsourcing digitizing. The discussion was interesting with many people expressing some concerns over the ethics of this while others were curious on the quality and cost issues associated with the practice. The basic lesson to keep in mind is to provide the contractors with a detailed data model and insist they deliver quality data to the standards defined by this data model.

Aileen Buckley and Charlie Frye of ESRI wrapped up the presentations with some information on database-driven labelling using Maplex. Audience members challenged their assertion that Maplex is now a standard part of Arcmap and Paul Harding of ESRI promised to pass on our request that Maplex be made a standard part of Arcmap. It was clear that the software can greatly improve automated label placement especially if data is created with a labelling hierachy in mind and properly setup. Although time consuming, some advance planning in a map series scenario is likely to lead to greater productivuty for those shops with access to the software.

The rest of the day was devoted to small group map critiques. This is by far my favourite NACIS event. It is a great opportunity to receive feedback from other cartographers, show off you work and see what both beginners and experts have been working on. One of the highlights was Jim Meacham’s Yellowstone Atlas project which he was showing off in a glossy proof of concept brochure. We wish him luck in bringing that project forward.

The evening finished off with the Map-Off which once again was well attended. Map design was the focus of this event and it was nice to see what teams and individuals from across the country are capable of.


Canadians are probably already familiar with Lloydminster. The city straddles the Alberta / Saskatchewan provincial boundary. However, according to this news story, the provincial boundary, which follows the 110° west longitude line, is not in the place where it was thought to be when it was originally surveyed over a hundred years ago. Perhaps someone should be taking a look at the border that runs along 49° north between Canada and the United States . . . .


FCW.com carries a story today about how the changes in mapping technology is affecting the USGS’ approach to what it does. Citing commercial satellite image collection as more efficient and cost-effective, it is seeking to eliminate traditional surveying positions.


Community Mapping in San Jose

The Christian Science Monitor of October 12 has a story about community mapping in San Jose, California, and how it is helping to empower the local neighbourhood. Students and volunteers are canvassing the neighbourhood and gathering information via GPS, cameras and surveys.


NACIS XXV Conference Report

The following report on the North American Cartographic Information Society’s annual conference was kindly provided by J. B. Krygier:

NACIS was well attended this year, its 25th, with over 170 attendees. More than 50 were first-time attendees, many from small, private map design firms. While NACIS retains its traditional academic and government members (particularly those who design and make maps), the number of small-firm cartographers, who make really cool maps, has brought a whole new face to the organization. NACIS has reached a nice balance between the academic and the practical, and is a very friendly and comfortable conference with many chances for socializing with a diversity of map-crazed people. Behind the scenes and on the program was the steady buzz of gossip and excitement about open-source mapping and GIS software - particularly on the WWW - and the impact of this on the future of maps and map design.

The “main” NACIS conference kick-off this year was the annual Map-Off, held Wednesday eve. Five map designers are given a few weeks to design and produce a map that is subjected to a critique by a panel and the conference audience. This is a tremendous challenge, fit for only the bravest of cartographers, given the limited time to create the map and the 150 or so critics in the audience.

Map design and production dominated the sessions this year at NACIS. Topics included “On the Fly Map Generalization,” incorporating old cartographic methods in ArcGIS, maps for the “Great American Sports Atlas,” dasymetric mapping, relief image and map production automation, four papers on historical atlas map design and production, and a several presentations on terrain modeling and shading. Among the more interesting presentations was a review of the greatly enhanced design capacity of ArcGIS 9.2. In a nutshell, they are trying to make it so you don't have to export to Illustrator to finish the map design! Other presentations on maps in poetry, politics, and medical mapping, as well as a roundtable session devoted to freelance cartography fleshed out the conference.

Two panel discussions focused on map design: “What Goes On Before You Make The Map” had well-known private and public sector map designers Stuart Allan, Alex Tait, Dennis McClendon (president of NACIS), and Tom Patterson talk about the way they conceive of and execute a map design project: great advice and insight from some map design pros. “The Future of Map Design” had three critics - Peter Keller, Stuart Allan, and George McCleary - critique two new map design books: “Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users” by Cindy Brewer, and “Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS” by John Krygier and Denis Wood. The panel members saw the books as complementary, while being very different (Brewer’s book more conventional and immediately applicable to current GIS software, Krygier/Wood’s book more unconventional and populist). What was interesting is the fact that both books are aimed at the increasing number of non-specialists who make maps. In essence, map making is becoming more democratic – and so is map design, and this is a good thing.

The conference ended with a presentation by David Rumsey, the well-known map collector who is using the latest WWW mapping technologies to open his collection of maps to the public, allowing the innovative analysis of old maps using new technologies. As is usual with a Rumsey presentation, many gasps, ooos, and aaahs escaped from the audience as we were presented with new open-source WWW applications from ESRI and Google that integrated new data with
old maps. Rumsey finished the presentation with a call for free access to maps and geographic data, briefly discussed the creative commons, and urged audience members to embrace a future with open-access mapping and GIS software.


Carto 2005: Conference Report

Below is the official report of this past July’s Canadian Cartographic Association / Association of Canadian Map Librarians annual conference:

CARTO 2005: Joint ACMLA and CCA Conference
July 26 - July 30, St. John’s
Conference Report

Prepared by Alberta Auringer Wood
Based on conference abstracts and reports by Colleen Beard (CB), Trudy Bodak (TB), Marc Cockburn (MC), Christine Cullingworth (CC), Wenonah Fraser (WF), Siobhan Hanratty (SH), Diana Hocking (DH), David Jones (DJ), Larry Laliberte (LL), Hugh Larimer (HL), Jennifer Marvin (JM), Susan Mowers (SM), Andrew Nicholson (AN), Roger Wheate (RW), and Barbara Znamirowski (BZ)

The preliminaries to the conference began on Tuesday morning with executive committee meetings and workshops. Three consecutive workshops were held in the Queen Elizabeth II Library of the hosting institution, Memorial University of Newfoundland. David Raymond gave one on AMap Production Using ArcGIS 9.x to start. After a coffee break, he was followed by Edith Punt who conducted one on Arc 9.2 Cartographic Enhancements for the next release. The rest of the afternoon after a lunch break was one on ADiscriminating and mapping of hydrologic features with ArcGIS and Arc Hydro presented by Andrew Millward.

Carto 2005 delegates were treated to Newfoundland's famous hospitality at the joint ACMLA/CCA Ice breaker Reception held at St. John's historic Newman Wine Vaults. This cozy setting created by the stone and brick confines of the wine vaults was an unusual, but excellent, space for association members to catch-up with one another and to meet new people. The generous amounts of seafood available at the occasion also added to the cheerful atmosphere of the reception. The event was sponsored by the Queen Elizabeth II Library, and University Librarian Richard H. Ellis welcomed Carto 2055 attendees on behalf of Memorial University. Mr. Ellis also took the opportunity to publicly thank and commend Alberta Auringer Wood, on the eve of her retirement, for her many years of service to the library community. The joint ACMLA/CCA Ice Breaker Reception was a great success and served to kickoff the conference in a congenial and hospitable fashion. Many thanks from the members ACMLA and CCA to the Queen Elizabeth II Library administration for sponsoring the reception and to Dan Duda and his local arrangement committee for organizing the event. (MC)

The venue for the remainder of the conference sessions was the Music Building on campus. The Plenary Session was held in Petro Canada Hall, the recently opened addition to the structure. Current CCA President, Christine Earl, introduced Dr. Henry Castner, one of the eight founding members of the Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) when it was born in 1975, officially opened CARTO 2005 with his address on “Those Unfranchised Cartographers: 30 Years Later”. Dr. Castner began by reviewing the beginnings and history of CCA. From its creation, CCA was to improve communication among cartographers, including research. One of the driving motivations was to include in the new organization the many a) “unfranchised cartographers” b) people with interests in maps and mapping who were not comfortable in the larger, primarily surveying oriented, cartographic organizations at that time. By structuring itself based on interest groups, CCA announced its willingness for these people to join and to cater to their interests. Today, thirty years later, Dr. Castner identified groups of “unfranchised cartographers” to whom CCA should be reaching out, such as Quebec francophones, government cartographers, theoretical cartographers, and children under the age of sixteen. (TB)

There was a coffee break followed by the first atlas session chaired by Diane Lacasse. Claire Gosson (Natural Resources Canada) noted that the first national atlas in the world was published by Finland while Canada’s was the second. The Atlas of Canada will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2006. During the past years, it has supplied authoritative, current and accessible geographic information products at a national level. It was published for the first several editions in book form (1906, 1915, and 1957), the latter in particular being of extra large format allowing use of a scale of 1;5 000 000 and containing many more maps. From 1969 to 1974, both a separate sheet format and bound volume format were used with map scales varying from 1:15 000 000 to 1:7 500 000. From 1978 to 1995, 93 separate sheets were issued using a main map at a scale of 1:7 500 000, while currently for the 6th edition, it is issued both as separate sheets and accessible interactively via the web. The Internet will continue to be a major focus for the atlas publication.

Claire was followed by Steven Fick (the chief cartographer at Canadian Geographic), who discussed both the print and the online editions of the Canadian Atlas. Both products have been released by Canadian Geographic to coincide with the magazine’s 75th Anniversary. Mr. Fick began his talk by looking at the development of the print atlas. Although discussed for many years, Canadian Geographic had difficulty finding the appropriate partner for the project. After rejecting a number of different groups, Canadian Geographic eventually chose to work with Reader’s Digest on the atlas. With Reader’s Digest circulation reaching 4 million Canadian readers and Canadian Geographic’s renown for presenting geographic information in an engaging manner, both parties felt that they could form a true co-production and deliver an excellent atlas. The marketing opportunities offered by Reader’s Digest were also very attractive for Canadian Geographic. From a cartographic perspective, it was decided early on that the atlas should adopt an regional eco-zone approach to organizing the atlas, have a focus on urban Canada, and be highly visual, including use of photography. MapArt was also recruited to provide the reference maps. The publication of the Canadian Atlas has been a tremendous success, with the first print run selling out in just a few weeks. The second part of Mr. Fick’s presentation focused on the release of the Canadian Atlas Online. For this product, Canadian Geographic turned to DBx Geomatics from Gatineau Quebec for assistance. Many of the features of Canadian Atlas Online include improved cartographic design, sophisticated web functionality, multimedia components, educational resources, and expandability options. In a future phase, 1:50,000 scale maps will be shown along with postal code data, more games, and more thematic content. The Online atlas project is also looking for new partners and talks are currently taking place with Statistics Canada. (AN)

Brian Eddy (Carleton University) spoke next on the “Cybercartographic Atlas of Canada’s Trade with the World: A Progress Report on Research and Development.” The concept of Cybercartography embodies the theory and practice of cartography in the emerging information era. It is primarily oriented toward teaching. Its main elements involve incorporating multiplicity of scale, multi-media and multi-thematic content, a diversity of delivery modalities, user interfaces and user contexts. It is expected that a prototype will soon be available with updates to be provided via their website. The launch of the atlas is expected in December 2006.

The morning session concluded with “For Future Generations: Mapping Indigenous Knowledge in Support of the Whitefeather Forest Initiative” presented by Andrew Chapeskie (co-authored with Alex Peters). In his presentation on the mapping of indigenous knowledge, Mr. Chapeskie (President of Taiga Institute) focused on the work being conducted as part of the Whitefeather Forest Initiative (based in Northwestern Ontario). Led by the Pikangikum First Nation, this initiative has played a valuable role in moving the First Nation into the 21st century, while maintaining traditional values. For example, the First Nation began their “Forest Initiative” strategy by incorporating the Elders’ indigenous knowledge and traditions into the data collection process. The end product included the mapping of First Nation cultural and ecological sites of importance, both today and many generations ago. Moreover, native pictographs also appear on the maps. With such knowledge, the Pikangikum First Nation will be able to take advantage of economic opportunities such as eco-tourism; while at the same time maintaining and preserving traditional knowledge, practices, and the environmental sustainability of First Nation lands. (AN)

Dr. Robert (Bob ) O’Neil of NRCanada was the featured speaker after a typical Newfoundland lunch of cod and potatoes, held at the University Club at Memorial University and sponsored by several organizations. Dr. O’Neil’s talk centred on the Atlas of Canada, which aims to provide a consistent federal government view of Canadian issues for Canadians. The Atlas, which is celebrating its 100th birthday next year, not only provides basic information for the casual user, but also complex data for the academic community. It includes the latest in visualization technology, and users may interact with available data and access data sources. The sixth edition takes advantage of the strengths of mapping on the Internet and continuous updating and linking to other data sources. It was an informative and interesting presentation. (HL)

The atlas session reconvened at 1:30 pm for a second part with three speakers rather than the originally planned two. Ed Light (Service Nova Scotia) described the GeoNOVA portal website, gateway to Nova Scotia's geographic information, its roots in the hardcopy atlas. In addition to base data, it includes, for example, dynamic links to 2003 election results. Peter Paul (Atlas of Canada) then outlined the continuing need for small-scale base map data for the “big picture” versus the details seen at larger scale: relative versus absolute accuracy, federal versus provincial, blanket versus quilt. He called it “binoculars in a world of microscopes.” Cameron Wilson (NRCan) introduced as the “father of geogratis,” closed the session ranging from a 1890 lithographic press to current spatial data infrastructures, in the production of national atlases. (RW)

Following the completion of the Atlas Sessions, Steven Fick introduced us to some of the fascinating history of the Canadian Geographic magazine which is celebrating its 75th anniversary year. The Royal Canadian Geographical Society was founded in 1929 by Charles Camsell, northern geologist and cartographer, and 27 other Canadian geophiles. The Society’s first publication was called the Canadian Geographical Journal and began publication in May 1930. The journal originally had an Anglo/colonial focus, reflecting its contemporary society. Articles and production were society-based with few, if any, professional staff. It developed a reputation, particularly in the 1950=s, for its strong coverage of the north, but also, similar to National Geographic, featured articles on Africa and other exotic locations. In the 1980’s it incorporated more colour illustration and evolved toward a more professional staff; now most articles are by professional writers. Maps are produced by cartographers and the publication has benefitted from developments in cartography. It used to cost over $4,000 per issue to produce maps when working with film and scribing. Now, electronic techniques have greatly lowered costs and allowed an increased amount of cartographic content. Canadian Geographic has a wide range of readers, both lay and professional and a high number of readers per copy with often several people in the same household reading the issue. Steven also illustrated the growth of the GeoMap, a frequent cartographic feature which has grown over the years from a half-page image to a two-page spread. He also introduced some of the related products, such as the print and online atlases produced by Canadian Geographic, independently or in association with other publishers or organizations. (DJ)

After the coffee break, the final session of the afternoon facilitated by Trudy Bodak was on: “Metadata Standards: Why we need them and how we get there.” Our speakers represented three perspectives: academic teaching, academic libraries, and national initiatives sponsored by federal government. Sally Hermansen, (University of British Columbia) divided her talk into two parts: “How we teach metadata” and “How we use metadata for student research projects.” She described a typical approach to teaching introductory GIS courses, and how metadata fits into this process. Students begin by learning to recognize the key features of spatial data and attribute data, including coordinate systems, datums, projections, raster and vector file models, resolution including scale and pixel size, spatial and logical consistency of data, as well as forms of analysis and display, age of data and data reliability. In follow-up assignments students use a standard set of questions regarding data features to assess the appropriateness of data sets for their research projects. Hermansen noted that whereas cartographers once saw metadata as the source information which one then puts on a map, new digital technologies provide other options for packaging and presenting metadata. For example, metadata may come as a supporting text file, appear on a data producer’s web site, or come bundled with spatial files. In using diverse data sets students learn to distinguish between key federal, provincial and commercial data sources and to recognize the extent to which metadata can vary in quality, appearance and reliability. Hermansen concluded by stressing that educators must encourage data providers to provide quality metadata, and teach students to be critical of map web sites in which data sets are not attributed. Our next speaker, Grace Welch (Library Network, University of Ottawa) provided a brief overview of the evolution of geospatial data information management issues. In the 1990’s, libraries were “data poor:” often accepting whatever data were available, and as a result experiencing the consequences of sketchy or non-existent metadata. Since then, considerable energy has been spent on negotiating data partnerships and data agreements, resulting in the widespread growth of data library collections and data services. In organizing data collections, libraries have become aware of the critical need for better metadata and its essential role in providing services to users. Libraries have worked closely with national committees and stakeholders to adopt metadata standards. Since 2000 we have seen several important achievements: the adoption of FGDC as the Canadian standard for metadata, the emergence of web-based discovery portals for data and metadata, and the inclusion of metadata creation modules in leading GIS software (e.g. ArcCatalog). Welch stressed, however, that we still face many challenges. Welch concluded with several recommendations: that we increase dialogue between various communities, that the production of metadata be implicit in data information management strategies, that we provide more training and support mechanisms to encourage metadata production, that we reward the creation of good metadata in a standardized format, that we identify ways to share workload and expertise, and that we establish a national academic portal to facilitate sharing of metadata and data discovery. The final speaker was Cameron Wilson (GeoConnections) who stressed the importance of considering the relevance of metadata, and suggested that the traditional definition of metadata as “data about data” is too narrow. A broader definition (b): data about data and services. (b) is more appropriate, given new technologies and web-based services. Metadata is required for such services as web map services, catalogue services, web feature services, and geo-data discovery services. Wilson described how the GeoConnections Discovery Portal can link us to data, organizations and services provided by Canadian and international organizations. Natural Resources Canada has offered workshops in metadata creation and these have been attended by a broad range of data producers including representatives from provincial governments. He concluded by stressing that we must continue to work cooperatively: developing partnerships, monitoring the needs of our users, and connecting data suppliers with users. A brief question and answer period followed. It was commented that as a last session of the day, the speakers had definitely made what could be “a boring session interesting!” But although our progress has been significant, it is also clear that we still face considerable challenges. Several members of the audience reiterated the need for more training. It was also noted that we need clear policies on how to capture or treat “legacy,” “lost” and “dead end” data sets that are often accompanied by no or relatively unusable metadata. Perhaps a slide point introduced by Grace Welch provided the day’s most fitting conclusion: “[We wish to] work toward a future when we can stop talking about metadata and just do it!” (BZ)

Late afternoon saw a meeting of the Bibliographic Control Committee which will be reported in full elsewhere. It included discussion on the status of reporting catalogued map records to the Library and Archives Canada for inclusion in Amicus, as well as plans for future cataloguing workshops.

A bit later in the afternoon and into the evening was The Ninth Nearly-Annual CCA/ACMLA Orienteering Event at Bowring Park. Diana Hocking was the organizer and reported that it was the most relaxing one for her. The map already existed, and the local club course planner, Nolan White, also provided both maps and controls. All she had to do was enjoy a peaceful outing with assistant Jean McKendry to hang some controls and wait for competitors to arrive. Unfortunately, due to many programming delays during the day, several who had signed up did not make it to the park. But those who did, made it worthwhile. The clear winner, Tim Wykes, was most deserving of the honour. Last year, he made the orienteering map while also a major conference organizer, and the year before at Royal Roads he had not really got the hang of the sport at all. He had obviously been secretly practicing! Runners-up, Rick Gray and Paul Heersink, were some way behind. John Fowler needs a watch next time, so he will not throw away the great prizes by coming in late. Sally Hermansen, this time with CCA President Christine Earl, proved again that choosing the right running mate nets you Top Female every time. Henry Castner made a great score, for an old-timer. And Trish Connor won the Good Sport award for low score. Edie Punt and Lori King were Top Rookies, both eager to do even better next year. A special mention should go to Alun Hughes and family who were merely walking in the park, and took a map unofficially, successfully finding many controls. We’ll expect great things from them all next year. Many thanks to Nolan for all his work and to David Mercer for making the arrangements. (DH)

Thursday morning the attendees reconvened in the Music Building to begin with a session on Data Archiving. Facilitator Anna Jasiak introduced the session, affirming the need for data archiving, without which today's data will unavailable for future re-use or replication. This session is a follow-up on Wendy Watkins=s Carto 2001 presentation on data archiving. The first presenter, David Brown (Library and Archives Canada), spoke on “The Management and Preservation of Geospatial Data,” which was based on his report co-authoured with Grace Welch for the GeoConnections Policy Advisory Node. He noted the case for government archiving of geospatial data: the importance both of temporal analysis, not just current analysis, and that of the Canadian geomatics industry, having $1.5 billion revenue in 2000 according to a Statistics Canada survey in 2000. He presented a continuum of custodial data management standards and practices, noting that database backups are not a long-term preservation strategy. Although no single solution exists for a government data management framework, Mr. Brown argued that the requirements for a solution are clear: cost-effectiveness, preservation (addressing, e.g., technology obsolescence) and metadata, identified core business data products, and accountability. Putting rules in place to meet these archiving requirements will be the key. The second presenter, Christine Cullingworth (University of Winnipeg) talked about “Issues Surrounding the Archiving of Geospatial Data,” and was a research contributor to the report for the GeoConnections Policy Advisory Node. She highlighted GeoConnections’ achievements in furthering development of policies and practices, and particularly CGDI’s role in providing an underlying foundation with which to share applications, services and data, and noting the CGDI Developers Corner. Ms. Cullingworth provided an overview of distribution issues: intellectual property rights and restrictions and security and confidentiality, and custodianship issues including ongoing access issues, and the growing potential of open source and standards, and the need for innovations such as metadata crosswalks. The third presenter, Jean-Pierre Lemieux (NRCan, Centre for Topographic Information Sherbrooke or CTIS), spoke on “Archiving of NRCan Geospatial Data.” NRCan is maintaining Terabytes, and soon Petabytes (a petabyte is is equal to 1,024 terabytes or 2 to the 50th power (1,125,899,906,842,624) bytes) of Geospatial Data distributed through the NTDB, GeoGratis, Toporama and GeoBase portals@. Mr. Lemieux began by describing NRCan’s three types of license. Currently, Mr. Lemieux explained, some 93 servers house CTIS’s data, with active storage in the Terabytes (RAID), and some 75 Terabytes on tape. With this in mind, while users are demanding access to larger and larger amounts of data, Mr. Lemieux advocated downloading on an as-need basis. NRCan manages their datasets in terms of editions and versions, e.g., NTDB 3.2 is edition 3, version 2. A new edition represents a reprocessing of all data product files, and major data changes. A new version represents discrepancy corrections and updates, to some product files. Metadata files are attached to each edition and version of a dataset, and are archived along with the datasets. The fourth presenter, Gaetan Drolet (DLI/StatsCan) gave “Gone Today, but Here Tomorrow? Canada's National Data Archive: Update on an over optimistic Outlook from CARTO 2001.” This paper was written by Wendy Watkins and Ernie Boyko. Wendy Watkins presented the original paper in 2001. Mr. Drolet recapped the National Data Archive consultation process explaining that phase two of the process saw a loss of momentum, with a change in key players and the lack of a lead player. Nonetheless, he argued that the glass is nearly half full. New developments since 2001 include two major reports, National Consultation on Access to Scientific Research Data (NCASRD) March, 2005 (key partners, NRC, CFI, CIHR) and Archiving, Management and Preservation of Geospatial Data: Summary Report and Recommendations (GeoConnections Policy Advisory Node: Working Group on Archiving and Preserving Geospatial Data) (Brown, Welch and Cullingworth) February 2005 (see publications, key documents). In addition, he identified other progress made since 2001, such as more mainstream metadata standards, and several metadata template tools. On an individual level, we must work proactively, adopting the standards, preserving our unique collections, sharing data (for which the mechanisms have improved) and workload, and being involved in lobbying for a National. (SM)

This was followed by the CCA annual general meeting and a session chaired by Cathy Moulder focusing on topics primarily of interest to map librarians. Cathy Moulder (McMaster), Colleen Beard (Brock), and Andrew Nicholson (University of Toronto, Mississauga) presented what they felt were three of the more interesting things that they learned at the Map and Geographic Information Collections in Transition conference held in Washington DC in May of this year. They reported that 150 people were in attendance, including seven Canadians. Cathy discussed changes in the US data culture concerning access to geospatial data. Until recently, Canadian librarians have looked at their American counterparts with envy as they enjoyed free and uninhibited access to government produced geospatial data. Changes in legislation since 9/11 and privatization has allowed the U.S. government to partner with commercial bodies resulting in the creation of value added data complete with a price tag and restrictive licensing clauses. American librarians are newly embarking upon consortial and lobbying strategies that their Canadian colleagues have long since become well versed in to combat this shift. Colleen discussed a presentation concerning digitization of analog collections. This topic is important for several reasons, specifically preservation, provision of remote access, and sharing unique collections through co-operative projects. Colleen related what she learned to how Brock is embarking upon a digitization project of their historical maps. Andrew reviewed the concerns expressed in Washington about archiving government geospatial data. Many US government agencies are now including archiving in their long term mission statements and planning documents. There was a recognition expressed for the need for support from the map and GIS librarian communities in this endeavour. Budget constraints, preservation, and storage were cited as the major impediments. Anne Draper, Chief, Government Documents Cataloguing Section of Library and Archives Canada, provided an overview of the structure and initiatives of the newly formed agency. Anne focused on the impact of the merger on the selection, legal deposit, acquisitions, and cataloguing in AMICUS of cartographic materials. She informed the group that during summer 2004, published cartographic materials have been catalogued in AMICUS. These materials will become part of the depository system in 2007. Unpublished maps and geospatial data will not be included in these initiatives, but will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the Geomatics division of LAC. (JM)

After this session and fortified by box lunches, Alberta Auringer Wood led a group of 12 intrepid map librarians via taxies on a tour to The Rooms, the newly opened archives, gallery, and museum of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Meeting our tour guide in the multi-storey atrium at the entrance of the striking building set on the heights of Fort Townshend with a magnificent view of the downtown and harbour entrance, we had a general, twenty minute tour of the building which provided us with an introduction and locations of galleries. We were then transferred to Melanie Tucker and Greg Walsh of the Archives Division who gave a brief welcome to the facility in the spacious reading room. They described the services that they offer to researchers, as well as equipment that was available. There is a separately enclosed room for microform readers, two computers for Internet access, electrical outlets for notebook computers, and an extra-large table for use with maps. The storage vaults which allow all their maps to be housed in the building were visited, though not by their oversize elevator which they use to move materials between the floors. Greg demonstrated the use of their electrically-powered “shelf picker” with the moveable compact storage shelves which hold map cases as well as 5 shelves of boxes for rolled maps and extend to a height of about 12 feet.

In the intervening time, several demonstrations were held in the Music Building. Patricia Connor (University of Western Ontario) and co-authored by Sean Irwin and Iris Gutmanis demonstrated I-MAP SWO. This freeware is the product of a joint venture between the Geography Dept. at Western, Patricia Connor (cartographer, geographer), Sean Irwin (programmer) and Iris Gutmanis (epidemiologist). The product was demonstrated so that attendees could determine if it has a useful role to play for teaching or research purposes in their workplaces. It is an easy-to-use desktop application suitable for either Mac or PC computers. I-Map SWO (southwestern Ontario) was designed in response to SWO epidemiologists and health planners with small budgets (and little expertise in GIS or custom drawing packages like Illustrator or CorelDraw) looking for a product to create base maps and visualize health data using various classification systems and methodologies on maps. Since communicating this information to the public is an important role for this group, they also made it their objective to develop a product where the output would remain crisp for reports (i.e., the capability to render postscript images, not just jpegs). Christine Earl (Carleton University) gave a demonstration on Geomatics at Carleton University. This summarized the program and courses available, as well as proposals for the future. Plans are to eventually offer courses that will lead to an Honours B.A. or B.Sc. in Geomatics which will give the program and the course offerings greater visibility and identity. Patty Zhao (Atlas of Canada) presented a short introduction to Mapping Snow in the Atlas of Canada. On the website are three maps on snow cover. Map subjects included are: the median start date, median end date of continuous snow cover, and average maximum snow depth. She also covered data problems, major steps converting the point data to a contour map, and some technical issues encountered during the conversion process. Xiuxia Liu (Carleton University) presented a demonstration on Web-based Map Transfer. She included three main methods of transferring maps: static maps, embedded media, and the database approach. The static map approach dealt with the file formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF, which are supported by most web browsers. The embedded approach referred to interactive media (e.g., 2D/3D animations, movie), which are supported by browsers with the aid of plug-ins/viewers. The database approach integrated with interactive web mapping applications, which are manipulated through database management systems. The advantages and disadvantages of the three methods were evaluated in the presentation.

The tour group returned to join the ACMLA annual general meeting already in progress by a few minutes. The AGM will be reported on separately. There was a repeat of the tour in the afternoon for another group of eight, primarily CCA members. It was quite an interesting event also.

In the evening, the banquet was held on another high hill overlooking the city, but further from the water. Upon arrival by bus or car, nearly the entire group assembled on the hillside to take photos with the city, South Side Hills, and water in the background. The Admiral’s Green club house was a wonderful facility for a well-attended banquet. The food was very good. There were speeches, drawings and contests for lots of door prizes, and much fun for all on hand.

Friday, July 29, saw the group reassembled in the practice facility at the Music Building to hear a session chaired by Paul Heersink which began with an Education Panel discussion of representatives of both colleges and universities on:
  1. how they teach cartography and GIS
  2. how what they teach fits into the larger program
  3. how they develop curriculum
  4. what kind of balance they maintain between practical and theoretical issues
  5. can colleges learn from universities and vice versa when it comes to teaching cartography and GIS
Sally Hermansen (UBC) mentioned that most geography and GIS programs still include at least one cartography course. She feels positive about cartography in academia for the next few years, however with that being said, retiring traditional cartography academics are being replaced by GIS, spatial modeling, and geovisualization academic specialists. Some other key remarks that were reflected in her answers to the above mentioned questions were: that cartographic design has not been lost in GIS technology, and teaching a mix of technology and theory creates the best fit. An example is not just training students how to use ESRI software, but educating them as to the underlying theory of perception, cognition, and cartographic design. Sally has her students critic maps for two weeks before they start to draw/hand map with a computer, this is to get them to think before they draw. Tim Wykes (Fleming College) noted that the college perspective is different although they have also been going through the transition where the focus has turned more to GIS. Sadly, the curriculum is based on economics, if they cannot keep student enrollment at a certain number then the program is cancelled. Colleges award certificates and/or diplomas and have a combination of different people who enroll, i.e. students out of high school, post-degree students, or educators. The student=s main focus is job placement, thus a decision has been made about what is being taught, i.e. software is based on the industry because they are the ones hiring the technicians. The teaching of theory has declined, as well little is taught about information visualization. They also cannot use “cartographic” in their course description, but use the term “Geosciences” instead. The course work tends to be applied or hands on with small assignments. According to current students (with previous degrees) whom Tim polled, the main differences between college and university are that college has lower tuition fees, more computer hardware/software availability, and much more course work. Rick Gray (Ridgetown College) attended university and then college. His initial statement was that the university taught him to “think” and college taught him to “do.” He referred to himself as a “GIS jockey,” not a “cartographer” because his maps tend to be ephemeral, i.e. models disease in crops based on weather. He made an excellent point on the ratio of job opportunities for GIS technicians versus those available for cartographers. The main interest of college students is to get a job. One course is taught in the Environmental Management diploma, and this program takes students straight from high school. This panel was followed by Marcel Fortin (University of Toronto) and Jennifer Marvin (University of Guelph) talking about “Libraries: Bridging the Geographic Literacy Gap.” This presentation showed the importance of GIS services that focus on more than simply providing access to data and software, but instead informing a user at a more fundamental level. The speakers described the more traditional roles of libraries as repositories of information and providing access to information, but also the educational role that libraries have in this modern world of digital information. Information literacy (including Geographic Information Literacy) is helping people find, use (read), evaluate, and think critically about information and maps. It also raises awareness of the authenticity, validity, and reliability about that information or map. Marcel discussed the beginning of map literacy, the slow start to modern geographic information literacy, GIS in libraries, and data access landmarks. He also mentioned the current state of GIS holdings and library GIS services. Jennifer described the elements of Geographic Information Literacy to include: cartographic basics and mapping theory, software basics, data and database basics, geographic analysis, and the integration of paper maps and paper statistical sources with electronic information. Building awareness is the first step of literacy, as are also creating initiatives such as tutorials, help guides, one on one consultations, and group instruction. Collaboration both internally (within the university) and externally (different associations, consortiums, and government departments) is additionally very important. The presentation finished by indicating the possible areas of improvement, which included increased awareness among users, better liaison with departments and faculty, support from library administration, professional development, data needs, and collection development. (CC)

These presentations were followed by a coffee break in the display and exhibitors’ area. Several local firms had set up booths and provided financial support for the conference, as well as a number of prizes for attendees. These included Norman Wade Company Ltd.; M. Francis Kelly Limited; Surveys and Mapping Division, Dept. of Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) Newfoundland; and the Centre for Topographic Information, Natural Resources Canada. The maps submitted to the International Cartographic Association as the Canadian exhibit and several posters were also on display.

After the morning break the first session dealing with historical topics took place chaired by Alberta Auringer Wood. First off there was Michael Staveley (Memorial University) who read John Robson's (U.Waikato, NZ) paper on James Cook's contribution to the mapping of Newfoundland, with many stunning examples of the island's early cartography. Gerald Penney (independent archaeologist and early maps and books dealer, St. John’s) aptly followed with a presentation on the early cartography of St. John's and what he believes is the earliest known map of St. John’s: that done by Henry Southwood as am inset map of the harbour in 1675. (RW) Paul Light, a student of COGS (Centre of Geographic Sciences), presented his research as a result of his COGS project on “The Evolution of the Nautical Chart: 13th to 19th Century.” He unfolded the historical events of the nautical chart noting its importance in the way man perceived and discovered the world. The presentation included reference to the Romans, sailing charts, development of rhumb lines, projection, scale, latitude determination, triangulation, and milestones such as the advent of the British Admiralty charts in 1800. To conclude the session, Alun Hughes (Dept. of Geography, Brock University) provided a very entertaining history on the difficulties encountered in establishing the route of the first Welland Canal in 1818. Although one may think the 150-foot rise of the Niagara Escarpment would be the main obstacle to overcome when constructing a canal, Hughes described that what appears to be an insignificant rise in the landscape, known as the Niagara Falls Moraine, caused more hardship. This stretch of the canal that cuts through this moraine, known as the “Deep Cut,” extends from Port Robinson to Allanburg (NTS sheet 30M/3&6) - a mere 4 kilometers. Originally surveyed in 1818 by William Hamilton Merritt the principal force behind the canal the cut was intended to divert water from the Chippawa Creek to his mills situated on Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines. However, due to the loose composition of the moraine, the slumping activity was the major impediment in construction. The surviving field notes Hughes studied revealed several surveys that were conducted (including Merritt’s survey); plans to traverse the escarpment by a railway; an unsuccessful attempt at building a tunnel through the moraine; and plans of alternate canal routes that threatened the water supply for Merritt’s mills. However, assuring his water supply, Merritt was determined to see that the canal did indeed take the Deep Cut route to his mills on the Twelve Mile Creek regardless of the difficulty in construction. His determination saw the opening of the first canal by 1829, aka Merritt’s Ditch! (CB)

During the lunch break the presenters of posters were available for questions and comments. The posters were “Cartography at COGS” by David Raymond, “Austro-Hungarian Maps” by David Jones, “Modelling Biodiversity Using the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction in the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve” by James R. Ferguson, and “Tactile Maps” by James Richmond.

Conference organizer Dan Duda chaired the after lunch session. With a growing interest by academic libraries in scanning historical maps, the back to back presentations by David Raymond and Edith Punt were greatly anticipated. They did not disappoint! The first paper “Current Technology for Historical Research: GIS and Comparative Cartography” made use of historic maps of Newfoundland to highlight the issues associated with scanning maps with a known projection, in order that they can be integrated into a GIS environment. The presenter, David Raymond (Centre of Geographic Sciences, Nova Scotia) detailed the four main steps involved in the print to digital conversion process, along with the problems associated with each. The steps include Data Capture, Geometric Correction, Georeferencing and Overlay Analysis and David=s discussion of the process was very informative. One example was the explanation of scanning creep, where the scanner introduces distortion into the process and as a result, there is a need for a Geometric Correction of an image after it is scanned. David also outlined the procedure of using graticules to line up historic maps with modern projections, providing a more error free method in aligning old maps with current data. Finally, the most practical part of the presentation was when he invited delegates to contact him with any questions relating to scanning historic maps for use in GIS. No doubt there will be a few! Anyone who had just finished reading the highly visual publication Cartographica Extraordinaire, eagerly awaited Edith Punt=s presentation, "Building a portal to a new world". After reviewing the Rumsey website, Edith spoke about the various “behind the scene” aspects in compiling the book through the use of mapping examples. In one fascinating series of maps titled “Who’s Land is it Anyway,” Edith argued that the Indigenous Peoples understanding of land was better represented on a 1814 Lewis and Clark map which described tribal territories with sweeping text. Edith then displayed a map of the same area, published 53 years later, where the First Nations presence on the land had been reduced by denoting their territory with dashed lines representing various treaties. Finally, a third map was displayed showing that by 1879 the lands granted to First Nations in the Dakotas had been reduced to an awkward triangle wedged in among the orderly squares of the Government=s public land survey. This and the other examples in Edith’s presentation brought home the fact that historic maps have a critical role to play in understanding how landscapes, at all scales, have come to be. (LL)

Next Alberta Auringer Wood (Memorial University) introduced the Fabian O’Dea Map Collection, which was donated recently to the Queen Elizabeth II Library of Memorial University. Her overview covered the scope and importance of the nearly one hundred maps in this collection, donated by his family after his death in 2004. The historical maps of Newfoundland he collected will be useful to scholars who want to see early maps of the area. The earliest map is a woodcut from 1556. The most recent one is dated 1979. There are harbour and nautical charts, as well as land surveys. The majority of the maps are from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and about half of them were not previously in the library=s collection. It was interesting to be able to view nearly thirty of the maps, which were on display in a special exhibit in the Queen Elizabeth II Library during the CARTO 2005 conference, and to imagine how developments in survey techniques, politics and printing have affected the cartography. Over the next while, the staff at the library intend to complete a listing of the maps and to scan them as appropriate, so they can be included in the library’s digital collection. As a conclusion to this session, we had the second presentation by Dr. Alun Hughes who is an animated speaker with an engaging narrative style. This time he talked about "John Graves Simcoe and the Naming of Upper Canada." John Graves Simcoe was the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada (1792-1796) and was responsible for naming many places there at that time. He applied a county-based naming policy, deriving names for townships, districts, and rivers from similarly named counties in England (that is, place names in Yorkshire, England, were applied in the county of York, Upper Canada). French and German names were replaced and even some English names were changed. He advocated naming a city “Niagara”, not changing it to Newark, and some of the names attributed to him were in use before he arrived. He was naming what previously had no name, such as counties, ridings for elections, and townships--they were just being surveyed. He also named some counties after English statesmen, though it is not always clear who they were. It appears that he was honouring families, not individuals. Simcoe demonstrated a broad, fairly consistent naming policy as he oversaw the naming of Upper Canada, and he was not strictly substituting English names for aboriginal ones. (WF)

After a final coffee break and opportunity to view exhibits and posters, the final session began which was facilitated by Rodolphe Devillers. Neil McNaughton (Director, Surveys and Mapping Division (SMD), Dept of Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) talked about and demonstrated MapsNL, the online portal for Newfoundland and Labrador maps which is OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) standards compliant. The map viewing client displays .gif images of multiple layers of coverage and vector data from any OGC compliant Web Mapping Server. Several indexes are available, including for air photos. It is possible to see geodetic information. The site address is: http://www.MapsNL.ca/. Following this presentation was Gaetan Drolet (DLI/Statistics Canada) who spoke about citing statistics, data, and maps. He advocates use of proper citations and did a proposal in May 2004 to develop a citation guide that would include monographs, databases, the Census, maps, and so on. He briefly demonstrated a web tool that will assist this endeavour.

In his talk, “Land Indeed,” Bert Riggs (Centre for Newfoundland Studies, QE II Library, Memorial University) described a rich collection of papers which represent four generations of the Peyton family. Of particular interest are the documents relating to Thomas Peyton’s tenure as Land Surveyor. In this role, Peyton made duplicates of land deeds and surveys he also submitted to the government. These records held by the Centre, which are in excellent physical condition, not only provide a wealth of information for genealogists, but they also provide insight into settlement patterns and land use, demographic growth patterns, origins of place names, as well as the development of the land survey in the province. The Peyton Family Collection (collection number 150) is heavily used at the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. At the moment there is no on-line finding aid; however, Mr. Riggs indicated they were hopeful that the Centre would be able to create a database based on this collection. Dan Duda had the unenviable task of giving the final presentation of the conference, on a topic which is so uncertain that few were surprised when his general conclusion was that no one seems to have answers. 20 June 2005 saw the introduction to Parliament of Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Copyright Act, which is the first significant move on this issue in quite some time. Along with Richard Pinnell and Elizabeth Hamilton, Dan is on the ACMLA Copyright Committee, and assured the audience that as per their mandate, they will continue to follow the progress of the legislation and communicate what they know to the ACMLA. For more information on the status of copyright legislation in Canada, see Richard Pinnell's report, submitted 28 June, 2005. (SH)

It was reported later that many from the conference spent an enjoyable Friday evening at the George Street Festival. This was despite the rain. Others enjoyed dinner in groups downtown.

On Saturday, about 30 attendees went on the tour/field trip. Despite some lingering fog and even a bit of rain, they enjoyed a two hour boat tour out of St. John’s Harbour to Cape Spear on the "Scademia", a 90 foot schooner. The weather improved throughout the day. There was a bus tour of some of the historic sites of the city, a tour of the Johnson GEO CENTRE, and the day-long adventure wrapped up with a tour of the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company in the historic village of Quidi Vidi. Everyone is looking forward to the meeting next year in Ottawa to help celebrate 100 years of the Atlas of Canada!

For more reports and photos of the conference, visit earlier postings in this blog.


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