Call for Papers: Post-Cartographic Map Design
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
March 7-11 2006, Chicago Illinois
Academic cartography, particularly cartographic design, is in decline.
Arthur Robinson's 1952 book "The Look of Maps" defined an ambitious agenda
for cartographic design research, based on the perceptual capacity of map
users, leading to more functional maps (form follows function). Assessment
of the results of Robinson's empirical agenda are mixed. Academic
cartographers have been replaced by GIS specialists, or have shifted to
cognitive studies of spatial understanding, or to complex technological
applications. Academic GIS researchers have been critical of the map and
visual models in GIS.
At the same time, more maps than ever are being designed and made, because
of the rapid diffusion of GIS software on desktop computers and internet
This session seeks researchers and practitioners creating maps and working
with models of map design outside of the traditional empirical model that
dominated cartographic design research in the latter half of the 20th
century: people who think critically about maps and map design and engage
in actual map design and construction based on their ideas.
Many artists have embraced the map in such a manner. Map design is often
seen as the prettying up of the map - the "artistic" part of cartography.
Yet substantive artists are seldom concerned with the pretty. "Map artists
... claim the power of the map to achieve ends other than the social
reproduction of the status quo. Map artists do not reject maps. They reject
the authority claimed by normative maps uniquely to portray reality as it
is, that is, with dispassion and objectivity..." (Wood & Krygier, 2006).
Map artist kanarinka claims artists working with maps have an "ethics of
experimentation" that is "anything but arbitrary." "...artists experiment
with a particular territory in specific ways to reach unforseen
destinations." (kanarinka, 2006). The diverse work of map artists nearly
always seeks to be evocative, challenging, make us see and think about
something differently, or undermine assumptions. Other models of map design
include narrative and ambiguity, suggested by literary and film theory,
multiple mappings (or counter-mappings) suggested by humanistic and
critical theory, and political mapping informed by post-structuralist
theory focused on the complexities of power.
Post-cartographic map design research and map creation seeks not to
explicitly critique traditional, Robinsonian cartographic design research,
nor to replace it, but to expand the way we think about, design, and create
maps in our map immersed society.
250 word abstract due to session organizer by September 18, 2005
Quotes from "Art & Mapping" Special Issue of Cartographic Perspectives
Organizer and Contact:
Department of Geology and Geography
Ohio Wesleyan University
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