Preparing for ICC 2013

I have had a lot of work to do to prepare for this year’s International Cartographic Conference.

For the first time, national mapping agencies (NMAs) have been given their own panel walls in the conference’s map gallery. I have coordinated Ordnance Survey’s input into the cartographic exhibition and so long as they have not got lost in the post, we will be displaying six maps in the cartographic exhibition. This includes work of our Cartography production area and work of mine and my colleagues in the CartoDesign team and encapsulates where Ordnance Survey currently is with its paper map products and gives a flavour of the variety of paper mapping that we still produce – its not dead yet!

We have though been cheeky enough to include one digital product to show that it works equally well in printed format. On the Sunday before the conference starts, I will be at the venue busily setting it all up.

I also wrote and am presenting a paper on our cartographic design principles at the event. Although the slide set will be the same as my recent presentation at the ESRI International User Conference, I have learned a lot from that and since then, so my verbal message will be slightly different. I am speaking in Session 1 on the Monday in Hall 1 if anyone fancies coming along.

If the six maps were not enough tree to be carrying to Germany with me, we also have six posters, mainly A0, for the poster exhibition. I am supposedly manning five of these all in Poster Session 3, so my apologies if I am not there – please come find me next to one of the other four! I am astonished by the amount of posters entered this year. In Paris there were not really enough, whereas Dresden has managed to attract and accept somewhere in the region of 250 posters.

Just like the maps, for which abstracts need to be written and extracts submitted to ICC well in advance of the conference, then they need to be ordered or plotted for which we have to source presentation quality rolls of paper and resolve any RGB to CMYK colour issues; the same applies to the posters, but the posters also need to be created. My teammates and I, and a couple of colleagues Derek and Alicja from our Cartography department, have spent quite some time trying to get the posters right. In the language of a famous British TV advert, ‘These are not just any posters, these are ICC posters!’ At ICC, posters are basically short academic-style papers condensed to a visual format – this is something that is actually incredibly tough to achieve.

Finally, like many other attendees, I have spent the best part of a day going through the online conference programme, which is excellent this year by the way, and trying to decide along with my colleagues which talks I will attend. For those of you not lucky enough to be going, there are PDFs of many of the papers on the website too.

Despite concerns from some quarters that such long conferences might be more of a holiday, I do genuinely work really quite long days at them and I try to attend as many sessions and make as many notes as possible. But obviously at a week-long conference, many of the evenings are free time of your own, and often a day either before or after too.

For quite a few years now I have taken to creating a quick map of the sights I intend to see before I travel to anywhere new. I use Bing Maps, simply because I find it the quickest and easiest application to do this in.

If you have a Microsoft account of any sort, then simply go to and log-in in the top right. From the top of the pullout panel on the left, select ‘My Places’, a pop up box comes up, click new, give your map a name, save it and then all you need to do is add your points.

Now this is where it is even easier. Simply use the search box to type in the attraction name, e.g. Frauenkirche, click on the relevant result (just like when searching) but then once the balloon callout appears on the map, click on more, then save and you can add this precise location to your own map ‘My Places’ list. The list even saves itself.

In California I even exported the points as GPX and loaded them onto the hire car’s sat nav! see next blog post (coming soon)

So here is where I absolutely must be in Dresden when I am not too busy working:

Attractions I would like to see whilst in Dresden
Attractions I would like to see whilst in Dresden

Hope to see and speak to some of you there,

Chris 🙂

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