Making Meaningful Maps: Seeing Geography Through Cartography
Roberth Roth (U Wisconsin-Madison)
|Date||Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 7:00 pm — 8:30 pm|
|Location||SFB 1199 | Strohsackpassage | Nikolaistraße 6–10 | 5th Floor | 04109 Leipzig|
Maps have gone viral: they are in our cars, on our phones, and across our news feeds. While the pervasiveness of maps is clear, has this popularity resulted in a tangible improvement to our collective geographic understanding? Is the world any better for the maps we make? In this presentation, I ask how we as cartographers, data scientists, and storytellers might bring more meaning to our work. I hang this discussion across three, multi‐month interactive mapping projects completed in the University of Wisconsin Cartography Lab that had complementary research and design elements. The projects covered very different datasets and contexts – climate change, globalization, and environment justice – but each afforded a deep engagement with domain experts and target users to puzzle through the design and delivery of a meaningful map product. Across these projects, my opinion on what mattered shifted away from the data, and even the map, to the people and places quantified by the data and represented in the map… to the geography. I conclude by brainstorming ways to bring more meaning to our map designs, helping our audience see the geography through our cartography to enable geographic thinking and promote global citizenship.
Roberth Roth (U Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Robert Roth is a tenured professor in the Geography Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (USA), where he is responsible for the cartography and visualization curriculum. Roth also is the Faculty Director of the UW Cartography Lab, a full-service cartographic production facility that provides both undergraduate and graduate students unique apprenticeship experiences on research and design projects. Roth received his PhD in 2011 at Penn State University. He currently serves as the Vice Chair of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commission on Use, Users, and Usability and the Cartography & Visualization Editor in the Geographic Information Science & Technology (GIS&T) Body of Knowledge. Roth was the recipient of a 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER award to transform research and education on interactive, online, and mobile map design. His students have gone on to work at Apple, Esri, Google, National Geographic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Uber, and numerous federal agencies in the United States. While on sabbatical from UW, Roth is serving as a visiting scientist in the ITC Department of Geo-Information Processing in the Netherlands.
Image Source: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Link (8 November 2017)