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Practical Cartography Day [clear filter]
Wednesday, October 16

9:00am PDT

Practical Cartography Day - Early Morning Session
Drawing Colour Hillshade by Hand
Presenter: Sarah Bell, Esri
At last year's NACIS, I shared some hand-drawn hillshade techniques with graphite during the CartoCamp workshop co-presented with cartographer & artist Molly O'Halloran. Since then, I have been experimenting with some shareable methods for drawing hillshade with coloured pencil. During this talk, I will present practical techniques and tips for drawing your own full-colour shaded relief maps. Using the site of NACIS 2019 as inspiration, you will see the Cascade mountains emerge through these hand-drawn colour hillshade techniques as I describe the steps performed to make these maps' colourful terrain.

Designing the Equal Earth Physical Map
Presenter: Tom Patterson, NPS (retired)
The Equal Earth Physical Map is a follow-up to the Equal Earth Political Map introduced last year at NACIS. The new map focuses entirely on the natural world – terrain, rivers and lakes, vegetation, land cover, and the ocean floor – free of obscuring country boundaries. With step-by-step slides, I will discuss the design considerations that went into building it, starting with raster base art, moving on to line work, and ending with place names. The map features stylized shaded relief processed with a new technology – artificial neural networks – obtained from a surprising source. Find out from where.

Texture Shading Software in Python
Presenter: Leland Brown
Introducing a more user-friendly interface for rendering terrain representations using the "texture shading" algorithm. Written purely in Python and relying on a minimum of additional Python libraries (scipy, gdal, PIL), the software is free and easy to set up whether you're using Mac, Windows, or Linux. Use it as a standalone graphical tool, call the algorithm from a Python script, or incorporate the open-source code into your own programs. Adjust rendering parameters dynamically and see the effects on the image in real-time, so as to optimize the look of your maps.

Symbol Masking in ArcGIS Pro

Presenter: Craig Williams, Esri
Say no to the maligned halo and use masking, halo's sophisticated cousin. Sometimes known as clipping paths or knockouts, masks can provide clarity to dense maps where multiple graphics intersect. ArcGIS Pro has several options for masking creation and new configuration options to improve your maps. Learn how to create masks for text and other symbols and use symbol layer masking to produce clean maps where graphics overlap. You'll also see how to supercharge your map creation with mask editing and workflow automation.

Beyond Hillshading in Blender- Breaking Cartographic Convention with Care
Presenter: Nick Underwood, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Blender, a free and open source 3D modeling and animation software, is a sandbox for the cartographic imagination. Beloved by artists, game designers, and scientists, Blender has been increasingly adopted by map makers for its hillshading capabilities, popularized by Daniel Huffman's excellent tutorial. In this presentation, I highlight additional ways Blender's versatile toolkit can be used to design maps that surprise and engage, and share my own design thinking on how and when to break cartographic convention.

Bringing Google Earth Engine into Cartographic Workflows
Presenter: Jeff Howarth, Middlebury College
Google Earth Engine (GEE) is a cloud-based platform for accessing and processing satellite imagery and geospatial datasets. GEE includes an online Integrated Development Environment that uses a Javascript API. This talk presents introductory procedures for using the GEE platform in cartographic workflows that can be integrated with other GIS and graphics software. I demonstrate simple procedures for gathering and filtering datasets, processing topographic, categorical, and spectral attributes, and exporting data. To illustrate these procedures, I show examples for making a shaded relief map, creating hypsometric and landcover tints, and working with natural and false color imagery.

avatar for Elaine Guidero

Elaine Guidero

Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey
I am a National Map Liaison with the National Geospatial Program in USGS; I work with some states and tribes to connect them to USGS resources. I also nurture a deep and abiding love for 1970s graphic design.

avatar for Tom Patterson

Tom Patterson

Cartographer, NPS (retired)
I like mountains and maps.
avatar for Leland Brown

Leland Brown

My interest in cartography stems from my love of hiking and of mathematics. I'm especially interested in mountain terrain representation, raster images, and multiscale images.
avatar for Craig Williams

Craig Williams

Group Product Engineering Lead - Mapping, Esri

Nick Underwood

UW Madison

Jeff Howarth

Middlebury College

Wednesday October 16, 2019 9:00am - 10:30am PDT
Pavilion AG

10:45am PDT

Practical Cartography Day - Late Morning Session
Command Line Carto
Presenter: Dylan Moriarty, Wall Street Journal
Using the command line can feel like a bad 90's text adventure game sometimes. It's intimidating, not particularly friendly, and frustrating as heck. But – it's also powerful and can save you many hours of rote work if learned. Make robots that do your work for you! I'll be talking about how someone with no prior terminal experience can learn command line, some basic Mapshaper commands, how to store your commands for later, and where to go to learn more.

Take Home a Bag of Tricks and Scripts for Automated Mapmaking
Presenters: Denise Lu and Rebecca Lai, New York Times
We will share a list of scripts that we use to make automated maps at The New York Times graphics team, featuring tools like Mapshaper, GDAL, Node canvas, turf.js and ogr2ogr.

Mapping the Rivers of North America (In Bulk!)
Presenter: Alexander Fries, The University of Alabama
This past summer, as part of an effort to update a book discussing the vast and varied river systems of North America, the UA Cartography Lab was tasked with creating nearly 200 maps of watersheds found across the continent. In this presentation, I'll describe the process I developed to streamline the production of this large volume of maps, as well as some of the tricks and techniques I implemented in the workflow to ensure that each map retained a sense of quality and individuality that helped reinforce the great uniqueness and diversity of North America's river systems.

The Art of Cartography: Upping Your Design Game With MAPublisher
Presenters: Nick Burchell, Avenza and Hans van der Maarel, Red Geographics
Making maps is as much an art as it is a science. This presentation will provide an overview of new tips and tricks for cartographic production with the dynamic duo of MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator, and show how having the unique combination of a GIS system completely within the powerful Adobe design environment allows you to take your maps to the next level. Learn more about the tools many of your favorite cartographers are using to make unique and beautiful maps. Nice? Nice!

Screenshot for the Win
Presenter: Tim Meko, The Washington Post
In a fast-paced news environment, it's important to work quickly and efficiently. At the Washington Post, we use plenty of specialized programs and workflows to make maps, but the humble screenshot is one of the best tools in our cartographic toolbox. This one trick saves us time and energy in breaking situations and is a smart hack for solving some of the sneakiest problems we face day-to-day. Screenshots have also been the foundation of some of our largest mapping projects. I'll walk through how we use screenshots at the Post, as well as some of the advantages and pitfalls. 

avatar for Elaine Guidero

Elaine Guidero

Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey
I am a National Map Liaison with the National Geospatial Program in USGS; I work with some states and tribes to connect them to USGS resources. I also nurture a deep and abiding love for 1970s graphic design.


Dylan Moriarty

Wall Street Journal

Denise Lu

New York Times

Rebecca Lai

New York Times

Alex Fries

The University of Alabama
avatar for Nick Burchell

Nick Burchell

Director, QA & Customer Services, Avenza
avatar for Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

Red Geographics

Tim Meko

The Washington Post

Wednesday October 16, 2019 10:45am - 12:00pm PDT
Pavilion AG

1:30pm PDT

Practical Cartography Day - Early Afternoon Session
Using D3JS for Print Cartography
Presenter: Chris Hendrick, Google
D3JS, the popular data visualization Javascript library, is most frequently used for creating highly customized and even bespoke interactive and dynamic data visualizations for the web. However, D3JS may also be used to create well crafted, static graphics for print publication. In this talk, I'll share some tips and tricks I learned for integrating D3JS into a print cartography workflow with the vector editing software Adobe Illustrator. 

Someday My Prints Will Come: Comparison of Online Print Services
Presenter: Kate Leroux, Amazon
You've designed a map and want a to print a small run to sell or distribute. There are many online companies clamoring for your business, but their services vary widely in areas like pricing, available sizes, texture, customer experience, and quality. How do you know where to order and what to expect? To answer this question, I ordered prints of the same cartographic image from over a dozen online printers. In my talk, I'll share the resulting prints and what I learned. 

Print Maps | Online Maps -- ¿Porque no los Dos?
Presenter: Matthew Hampton, Oregon Metro
Modern mapping output for government projects are in a transitional state as maps designed for printed reports are required at the same time that online interactive maps are becoming essential. It is a great time to be a cartographer, however the increasing work required for simultaneously designing print and digital products can be demanding. Learn some practical tips and tricks based on transitioning between print and online design map production for Oregon Metro's recent Regional Transportation Plan update.

Mapbox's Cartography Kit: Tools That Work Together
Presenters: Madison Draper and Dana Sulit, Mapbox
Basemaps ought to be intentionally designed for their scale: street level for navigation, global for vegetative landscapes and so forth. There are four major steps when designing a basemap: ideation, curation, creation, iteration. For each step, Mapbox developed an ecosystem of compatible planning and process tools. When designing a basemap, it's too easy to forget you're designing the entire world at all scales. Our suite of tools help to abstract elements of basemaps from their geographic context to ensure consistency across different regions. The tools covered revolve around planning and process documentation, data configuration, visual design and channels for review.

Authoring and Adhering to Standards in a GIS Environment
Presenter: Michael McNeil, St. Tammany Parish Assessor's Office
What do you get when you throw a dozen GIS professionals at a mapping project? A dozen different datasets, collected a dozen different ways, using a dozen different tools. In order to produce uniform data, authoring and adhering to a standards manual is essential for any GIS enterprise environment. But where do you begin? This case study of a small local government agency using a common note-taking application to achieve this goal will answer this question.

Bringing the Design Tricks of Desktop Cartography to the Web
Presenter: Andy Woodruff, Axis Maps
Cartographers have mastered many graphic design tricks in desktop software for subtly turning good maps into great maps, but the same techniques can be harder to identify in the code-driven world of web graphics. (Where's the "offset path" or "make mask" button in JavaScript?) This presentation demonstrates how to pull off some Illustrator-esque cartographic design tricks with web graphics (SVG, CSS, and Canvas), providing building blocks for making web maps as intricately beautiful as bespoke printed maps. It introduces the handiest terms and techniques to know for filters, blending/compositing, masking, and more, with external resources for learning the code.

avatar for Elaine Guidero

Elaine Guidero

Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey
I am a National Map Liaison with the National Geospatial Program in USGS; I work with some states and tribes to connect them to USGS resources. I also nurture a deep and abiding love for 1970s graphic design.

avatar for Kate Leroux

Kate Leroux

Cartographer, Amazon
Kate Leroux spent almost 15 years in the Seattle software industry, filling a wide range of roles including graphic design, business analysis, coding, testing, and system administration. This disparate skillset finally came together when she switched to cartography five years ago... Read More →
avatar for Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

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

Michael McNeil

GIS Coordinator, St. Tammany Parish Assessor's Office
GIS Production Manager with 12+ years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Background includes skills in digital cartography, data analysis and visualization, research, writing, web design, programming, and project management.

Andy Woodruff

Axis Maps

Wednesday October 16, 2019 1:30pm - 3:05pm PDT
Pavilion AG

3:20pm PDT

Practical Cartography Day - Late Afternoon Session
Back to the Drawing Board: Manual Techniques for Things You're Already Doing in Illustrator/Photoshop
Presenter: Molly O'Halloran, Molly O'Halloran, Inc.
Sometimes it's helpful to remember that software programs and terminology draw from traditional illustration methods. Cartographers who may feel intimidated by putting brush to paper already have wild skills! To help bridge the divide between technologies, we'll look at examples of common software effects as rendered manually on paper: transparency; masking; vignettes; gradients; bevel & extrude. There's no command-Z on paper, but there are sometimes ways to undo mistakes. Comparing manual techniques to their digital counterparts can help dissolve creative boundaries and give us new ways to think about combining technologies.

Recreating Map Monsters (and Other Useful Design Tips)
Presenter: Vanesa Knoppke-Wetzel
How often do you want to re-create a particular aesthetic/design of a map or graphic you have seen and loved, but you have no idea how to break it down and replicate it? Using map monsters from historic maps as an example, I'll walk through how to break down what you like into digestible elements, and then show how you could go about recreating these elements in Adobe Illustrator - and other current technologies, if time allows.

Making Cartograms and Treemaps with MAPublisher
Presenter: Nat Case, INCase, LLC
In working on an atlas project for National Geographic, I needed to make a few different graphics with proportional areas which were not geographically accurate. I used MaPublisher to guide creation of both conventional hex and square cartograms, and treemap graphs. I will demonstrate examples of both.

Mapping Data with R
Presenter: Courtney Lee, Public Policy Institute of California
We can quickly make maps of what policy data looks like using graphics packages within R, all without using GIS. Learn how to construct maps that visualize elements of the data within a reproducible environment.

Visualizing U.S. Census Bureau Migration Data with parsetR
Presenter: Kati Perry, USAID
Methods of visualizing migration come in many shapes and sizes – parsetR (Bostock, Davies, and Russell) should be among them. I will walk through how I used the parsetR package to visualize county-level migration flows provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. More importantly, I'll explore why using parsetR allows us to draw additional insights from the data by situating the visualization around variables like income and education.

Visual and Interactive Analysis (through maps) for the Data Scientist
Presenter: Mamata Akella, CARTO
CARTOframes is a Python package that enables CARTO's data, analysis, and visualization capabilities to be used by data scientists in their workflows. During this demo, we will explore how to take advantage of cartographic helper methods built into CARTOframes to quickly create interactive web maps inside of a Jupyter Notebook.

avatar for Elaine Guidero

Elaine Guidero

Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey
I am a National Map Liaison with the National Geospatial Program in USGS; I work with some states and tribes to connect them to USGS resources. I also nurture a deep and abiding love for 1970s graphic design.

avatar for Molly O'Halloran

Molly O'Halloran

Molly O'Halloran, Inc.
NACIS Board member, 2019–2021

Vanesa Knoppke-Wetzel

avatar for Nat Case

Nat Case

Co-owner, InCase, LLC
I'm a cartographer and publication designer and I like to talk about the ontology of maps, and their design.

Courtney Lee

Public Policy Institute of California
Courtney is currently an public policy researcher in California, and makes maps with R.
avatar for Kati Perry

Kati Perry

Data Viz Reporter + Developer, Associated Press
avatar for Mamata Akella

Mamata Akella

Vice President / 2020 Program Chair, NACIS

Wednesday October 16, 2019 3:20pm - 5:00pm PDT
Pavilion AG