Internation Cartographic Conference
…or, why you should go on every adventure you can.
The weeks ago I saw a link on twitter posted by NGA about a cartography conference happening near me in Washington DC. I’ve always really loved maps. I remember when I was younger I used to trace puzzles of the countries of the world all the time. My last blog post was about how much I love Mapbox, so I don’t think I need to reiterate too much about how beautiful I think maps can be.
After learning about the International Cartographic Conference (ICC) I immediately tried to register and was disappointed to see an expensive ticket price. I emailed the student volunteer coordinator asking if there was any space for a student with a passion for beautiful maps and a curious attitude. My dad always told me, “Good things come to those who ask.” A few days before ICC started I received and accepted an offer to volunteer at some of the event in exchange for attending. Adventure!
ICC 2017 was July 2 - 7th. There were so many great presentations going on all day, lots of headlining speakers, stimulating discussion, mini-trips around DC, and creative and amazing maps all around.
On Wednesday I helped lead a group to a tour of the maps collection in the Library of Congress. This was really the highlight of the week for me. The collection has over 5.5 million maps and 80,000 atlases. Wow. I saw a lot of beautiful works and many thought provoking maps. We saw the oldest known atlas that mentions America, Nazi WWII war maps, a 40 foot scroll map on rice paper of the road from Tokyo to Kyoto, and many more.
One piece that stood out to me the most was a map of coastline drawn by George Washington, who started his career as a surveyor. It was a handsomely detailed drawing of a shore and the towns along it. But on the reverse side was a line, like the coast line, but larger. Washington had drawn that line first, realised it wasn’t to the proper scale, flipped the sheet over, and started again. This left an impression on me.
If even the great George Washington made mistakes and was still able to achieve greatness, then maybe there’s hope for the rest of us
Many images and cool maps from the conference can be found in the google photo album here.
This whole week was such a great experience. I made a lot of great new relationships and met many interesting people from around the world. I can’t thank Dr. Rice, from GMU enough for giving me the chance to help and learn.