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Welcome to NACIS 2016 in Colorado Springs! This is the annual meeting of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). See the schedule below and check out the NACIS website for more details.

The North American Cartographic Information Society, founded in 1980, is an organization comprised of specialists from private, academic, and government organizations whose common interest lies in facilitating communication in the map information community.

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Practical Cartography Day [clear filter]
Wednesday, October 19
 

9:00am MDT

Practical Cartography Day - Early Morning Session

Maki 3.0: open sourced icons for maps
Nathaniel Slaughter, Mapbox
20 Minutes 

It can be a challenge to design a consistent and readable set of symbols for any map, but the limited resolution and variability of digital screens provide additional hurdles. The Maki project has been an attempt to work within these constraints and provide an open-source set of vector symbols for common map points of interest. The vector icon set embraces the pixel grid and is easily customized with different colors and backgrounds to fit a wide variety of maps styles. Earlier this year, Maki 3.0 was released with a focus on improving three core aspects of the project: the overall design of the icon set, tools to create customized versions, and clear style guidelines to help anyone design new symbols for the project. This talk will focus on the processes and design considerations for each of these aspects, and how they are already helping people use Maki and contribute to its

 

Creating, Collaborating On, and Maintaining Maps with Make
Seth Fitzsimmons, Stamen
10 Minutes 

Reproducible, automated workflows are fundamental to the creative process. They provide a safety net for experimentation and document complicated step-by-step actions. Makefiles have been used to compile source code for decades, so let's start there. Data preparation (format conversion, re-projection, filtering, project initialization) and post-processing steps (PDF generation, compression, publishing to the web) can be viewed as a series of transformations. This prevents us from needing to remember error-prone, rote steps and allows us to focus more on creativity and collaboration.. We will also discuss the concept of idempotency, the result of which is that only resources that have changed need to be re-transformed, speeding up the processing. We will work through some examples of how to combine `make`, basic shell scripting, and other tools to achieve these goals. (`make` is a command line tool, so some familiarity there is helpful.)
View Slides » 

 

Tools for getting OSM into Desktop GIS
Daniel McGlone, Azavea
15 Minutes 

Since its inception, OpenStreetMap has crowdsourced the addition of millions of features of spatial data across the world. It’s become a fantastic resource for geographic reference data and it’s constantly being improved and updated. While it’s open source and the data is free, getting it into a usable format for analysis in desktop GIS, for example, can take a bit of effort. This session will give an overview of a handful of tools and apps for getting data from OSM and into desktop GIS software such as ArcGIS and QGIS.

 

Breaking up with Raster and Going Steady with Vector Tiles
Katie Kowalsky, Mapzen
15 Minutes

Cartographer meets map tiles. That infamous meet-cute has caused scores of love, commitment, and eventual heartbreak for all of us in web mapping. The technology behind tiles is constantly changing, growing, and expanding—but where does that leave a cartographer? Are the limits of raster tiles worth abandoning for the mysterious, bad boy vector tiles? This talk will impart the wisdom of how a cartographer’s quest for true love in her tiling scheme and possible workflows can adapt smoothly to a new relationship with vector tiles.
View Slides » 

Transportation flow mapping: a practical productivity presentation
Matthew Hampton, Oregon Metro
15 Minutes 

Learn how to quickly and efficiently make transportation flow maps using easily gathered data.


Moderators
avatar for Carolyn Fish

Carolyn Fish

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
avatar for Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Cartographer and Graphic Designer, Mapbox
Organizer for Practical Cartography Day at NACIS 2017! I'm a detail oriented designer, cartographer, geographer, and hacker that is passionate about creating visual stories - usually through maps . I also love... running, wolves, and Wisconsin.

Speakers
SF

Seth Fitzsimmons

Stamen Design
avatar for Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

color-picker, Oregon Metro
Matthew likes to explore remote areas and create things.
avatar for Katie Kowalsky

Katie Kowalsky

Product Manager, HERE Technologies


Wednesday October 19, 2016 9:00am - 10:25am MDT
Heritage A/B/C

10:45am MDT

Practical Cartography Day - Late Morning Session

Branding + Identity with Maps
Kate Chanba
15 Minutes 

Maps are integral to an organization's branding mix, but often stand alone both visually and conceptually. GIS and marketing departments often function separately, and seldom bring in a cartographic designer to bridge the gap. To demonstrate how useful it is to include them in the design process, I will use the recently developed Arlington County Commuter Services Bicycle Comfort Level Maps as an example. I will also use these maps to discuss strategies that optimize maps for branding and help organizations unify their internal messaging—such as creating descriptive icons and symbology, storytelling, user testing, and using maps for promotion and tourism.

Pretty maps without the price tag: Cartography with just QGIS
Emily Eros, Red Cross
15 Minutes 

To produce quality maps for disaster situations, the American Red Cross constantly struggles to balance rapid deadlines with good cartographic design. We also believe in using free and open software whenever possible. Historically, we struggled to make print-ready maps using just QGIS; its print composer isn't intuitive and certain functionalities just aren’t there. So until recently, we used QGIS to process our data and then performed styling in Illustrator. This method works, but adds extra time and complexity that just isn’t realistic in the aftermath of a major earthquake. Over the past year, we’ve channeled our energy into figuring out tricks and processes for doing cartography entirely within Q. In this session, we’ll show how to do some of our favorite styling effects without needing Adobe. We’ll demonstrate how to make the print composer work. And we’ll share some of the limitations we’re still experiencing.
View Slides »

 

Re-thinking Maps for the Web
Jon Bowen, National Geographic Maps
20 Minutes 

Creating maps for the Web has become unavoidable to modern cartography as the use of mobile devices has risen exponentially. Not only has the size of the canvas changed to that of a playing card, but users expect the map you create to work equally as well on a phone or tablet and everything in-between while on a fast turn around. The challenge now is how to take everything, scale it down or modify it to what the audience expects, and still get the point across. Although interactive is flashy - it's not always the best solution. So let's rethink optimization and design what we can in a realistic timeframe. I will demonstrate and show examples of where we at Nat Geo have weaved together toolsets to intuitively and quickly serve our audience.
View Slides »

Data Driven Styling for GL Mapping
Molly Lloyd, Mapbox
15 Minutes 

In May of this year, Mapbox introduced Data Driven Styling for the open source Mapbox GL JS  library. This release opens up new possibilities for map styling at runtime and the ability to build dynamic thematic maps and data visualizations on the fly. This talk will discuss how data driven styling can be used for both dynamic data visualizations and base map design and why data driven styling coupled with other Mapbox GL JS features like efficient vector tiles, symbol clustering, and runtime styling is a milestone for web and mobile mapping technology. I will provide live examples and plenty of resources to allow participants to take advantage of these new features in their work.

Gunpodwer Maps (you know, for kids!)
Nick Martinelli, Foundry
10 Minutes

Alternate titles include, "How we got a university to let us ignite gunpowder on campus, with kids, unsupervised, to make maps." OR, "How we convinced a city to buy our one day $2.5mil insurance policy so we could ignite gunpowder at the local library with kids and make maps." Spoiler Alert: I have no idea really, we just did it and people got engaged, and we got to talk about maps with a bunch of kids and their parents, which was super. The practicality here is about how to engage the larger community in discussions about maps and mapping. 


Moderators
avatar for Carolyn Fish

Carolyn Fish

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
avatar for Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Cartographer and Graphic Designer, Mapbox
Organizer for Practical Cartography Day at NACIS 2017! I'm a detail oriented designer, cartographer, geographer, and hacker that is passionate about creating visual stories - usually through maps . I also love... running, wolves, and Wisconsin.

Speakers
avatar for Kate Chanba

Kate Chanba

Designer and Cartographer, Conveyal
avatar for Molly Lloyd

Molly Lloyd

Software Engineer, Mapbox
avatar for Nick Martinelli

Nick Martinelli

Developer/Cartographer, Apple
 


Wednesday October 19, 2016 10:45am - 12:00pm MDT
Heritage A/B/C

1:30pm MDT

Practical Cartography Day - Early Afternoon Session

The joy of hex: Challenges in creating and interpreting spatial bins
Sarah Battersby, Tableau Software
20 Minutes

Complex, large N point datasets present challenges for visualization and synthesis of spatial patterns due to the density of marks and resulting clutter from overlapping mark symbols.  One suggested method for dealing with complex point datasets is to partition the space into polygonal bins, and symbolize each bin based on point count inside the bin.    Because regular polygonal (e.g., square or hexagonal) bins appear as same size and shape, they are suggested as a method for improving ability to analyze smooth, continuous change in point distributions, while avoiding artifacts from irregular political bin geometry.  However, there is a fallacy if regular geographic bins are really considered to represent "same size and shape."   In this presentation, we discuss challenges and tradeoffs the cartographer must consider in creating spatial bins, and, more importantly, challenges the map reader faces in interpreting bins in a way that aligns with the cartographer’s intended message. 

View Slides »

Natural Scene Designer Pro 7
Tom Patterson, US National Park Service
20 Minutes 

Natural Scene Designer Pro 7, due for release this summer for Mac and Windows, has a slew of new features. I will demo my favorites. SVG Export to Adobe Illustrator Combining vector shapefiles and raster 3D terrain is now easy with NSD 7. The exported vectors in SVG format include a bounding box matching the size of the of rendered 3D terrain. Multiple Lights Northwest light is not always the best solution for depicting all features on a shaded relief. To improve the appearance of tricky terrain features, NSD Pro 7 now gives you the option to add multiple lights on a relief. You can adjust the azimuth and elevation angle of each light. Terrain Editing Is that ski area you are mapping not high enough? Use the improved terrain editing tools to brush in more elevation. Texture Shading Enhance shaded relief with this now built-in rendering option.

 

Cartography and the Lost Art of Drawing
Ryan Sullivan, Paste in Place
15 Minutes 

This talk will illustrate the benefits of integrating hand sketching into the map design process. As cartography and related disciplines come to rely on the computer and digital technologies as their primary design and production tool, the unique benefits of hand sketching and its relationship to visual thinking and design development have been overlooked. The presentation will share specific examples and methods from the author’s work and offer suggestions for how others can incorporate hand sketching into their work flow. Additionally, examples from other cartographers and designers will be included.

View Slides »

The complete solution from data to mobile device
Nick Burchell, Avenza Systems Inc
20 Minutes 

Avenza's platform is revolutionizing cartography in the digital era. This presentation will demonstrate how cartographers can bring raw geospatial data into graphic design applications to create high quality maps, then show how they can be distributed to smartphones and tablets for public consumption. Where maps were once only for print, you will see how they can now be easily and quickly distributed to map readers globally for use in their work and for their leisure activities.

View Slides »

Hand-rendered map illustration techniques
Molly O’Halloran, Molly O’Halloran, Inc.
20 Minutes 

Simple, practical design, drafting, and painting tips I've picked up from architecture school, art classes, and years of trial, error, and experimentation in the making of hand-rendered maps. We'll walk through the mapmaking process, starting with finding good, copyright-free base maps and designing the page/area layout. We'll look at papers and transferring techniques; pen nibs for line work and lettering; inks for fountain and dip pens; watercolor techniques for shorelines and mountains. I'll also touch on Photoshop cleanup and file assembly, and will be eager to hear tips and techniques that work best for you.
View Slides » 


Moderators
avatar for Carolyn Fish

Carolyn Fish

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
avatar for Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Cartographer and Graphic Designer, Mapbox
Organizer for Practical Cartography Day at NACIS 2017! I'm a detail oriented designer, cartographer, geographer, and hacker that is passionate about creating visual stories - usually through maps . I also love... running, wolves, and Wisconsin.

Speakers
avatar for Sarah Battersby

Sarah Battersby

Research Scientist, Tableau Software
Sarah Battersby is a research scientist at Tableau Software. Her primary area of focus is cartography, with an emphasis on cognition. Her work emphasizes how we can help people visualize and use spatial information more effectively. Her research has covered a variety of areas, including... Read More →
avatar for Nick Burchell

Nick Burchell

Director, QA & Customer Services, Avenza
avatar for Molly O'Halloran

Molly O'Halloran

Molly O'Halloran, Inc.
NACIS Board member, 2019–2021
avatar for Tom Patterson

Tom Patterson

Cartographer, NPS (retired)
I like mountains and maps.
avatar for Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan

Paste in Place
Graphic designer and cartographer focused on projects concerning cities, transportation and urban planning. Curious about the creative process and how tools and environments shape our work.


Wednesday October 19, 2016 1:30pm - 3:10pm MDT
Heritage A/B/C

3:30pm MDT

Practical Cartography Day - Late Afternoon Session

Cartography with CARTO Builder
Mamata Akella, CartoDB
20 Minutes 

CARTO Builder is a powerful tool for data, analysis, and cartographic design. With an easy-to-use online interface, you can take your thematic web maps to the next level. During this talk, I will highlight how to make a variety of thematic maps from proportional symbols to dot density to the standard choropleth (and more!) all inside of our new and improved online interface. We will touch on important thematic mapping considerations including options for map types based on the characteristics of your data, projections, and enhanced options for color ramps and labeling. We will also explore other data-to-analysis-to-design methods that are now available for your next thematic web map.
View Slides » 

InDesign + ArcMap (Photoshop & Illustrator too)
Brian Greer, Dynamic Planning + Science
20 Minutes 

Using ArcMap, InDesign, Photoshop, and ArcMap in tandem has allowed high-volume, high-quality production in our 2-man shop. Here's an whirlwind dive into our workflow for a 50-map series of flood depth and inundation maps. This workflow includes data driven pages map production in ArcMap, batch raster processing in photoshop, graphic legend production in illustrator, and composition in InDesign.
View Slides »

Making map movies with ArcGIS Pro
Craig Williams, Esri
Kenneth Field, Esri
20 Minutes 

Video has become a common and compelling way to share cartographic content in today's age. Standard video formats work well across web, mobile, and desktop environments, allowing you to author once and share widely. This makes video an enticing format for cartographic communication allowing the author to guide the viewer through space, time, and theme. Animations open up a rich, flexible way to make maps which extends the cartographer's toolkit. We'll show how to use animations in ArcGIS Pro to create map movies of thematic data and simulated environments in 2D and 3D. We'll also show videos created in ArcGIS Pro to demonstrate additional possibilities.
View Slides » 

Terrain in Photoshop: Layer by Layer
Daniel Huffman, somethingaboutmaps
20 Minutes 

Inspired by the many things I've learned through attending NACIS, I set out a couple of years ago to map the landforms of Michigan. The end result was a 4 GB Photoshop file, which I will deconstruct before your very eyes. I'll use it explain some helpful techniques for working with bathymetry, land cover, relief, and more, interwoven with tales of how the connections I've made through this remarkable organization and conference made it all possible.
View Slides » 


Moderators
avatar for Carolyn Fish

Carolyn Fish

Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
avatar for Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Cartographer and Graphic Designer, Mapbox
Organizer for Practical Cartography Day at NACIS 2017! I'm a detail oriented designer, cartographer, geographer, and hacker that is passionate about creating visual stories - usually through maps . I also love... running, wolves, and Wisconsin.

Speakers
avatar for Mamata Akella

Mamata Akella

Vice President / 2020 Program Chair, NACIS
avatar for Daniel P. Huffman

Daniel P. Huffman

somethingaboutmaps
avatar for Craig Williams

Craig Williams

Group Product Engineering Lead - Mapping, Esri


Wednesday October 19, 2016 3:30pm - 5:00pm MDT
Heritage A/B/C