NACIS 2009 – Practical Cartography Day

This year’s Practical Cartography Day at the NACIS conference in Sacramento, California, was quite interesting. The three presentations that I personally thought were the most useful were, in no particular order:

  • Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso who were speaking of the upcoming Natural Earth Vector dataset. I like this one a lot because I was one of the volunteers who worked on it, but also because in the past I’ve had to deal with the issues of combining datasets with differing accuracies and levels of generalisation.
  • Jill Saligoe-Simmel of Mapdiva was speaking about Ortelius, desktop mapping software specifically for Mac and designed by cartographers. I’m not sure whether I’ll be making much use of it myself, seeing how much energy I’ve invested in learning Illustrator and MAPublisher, but some of its features are just pure genius. The Linear Select feature, to insert a bridge on a road, is a prime example of that.
  • David Heyman of Axis Maps did a presentation on their online map tool Indiemapper, which even takes away the need to have software installed on a local machine. Very interesting work and I can’t wait to give that a try myself.

As usual there is a poster session with a number of very cool map designs, great to browse through and talk to the cartographers.

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