VerySpatial in the AAG Newsletter

We were mentioned in an article on Geography Awareness Week events (on p9 for those of you who receive the newsletter).  Nothing big but it gets our name out to an audience we haven’t had a chance to push ourselves on yet 🙂

As for those of you visiting from the AAG, welcome and we will see you in Chicago in March!

Book Review – Making Maps (Krygier and Wood, 2005)

One of the main issues in geospatial technologies today is the quality of the output whether it be for a presentation, map in a document or a poster. The underlying issue is the lack of training in digital cartographic concepts, the art that enables the user to convey the science. In Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, John Krygier and Denis Wood, both well published Geographers and Cartographers, are cognizant of this duality and have presented a unique mix of visual example and explanatory text that introduces readers to the basic concepts of creating effective maps.

The first impression, before you even begin to read this book, as you are leafing through, is that the authors had a specific objective: to introduce the reader to map design. This is conveyed in the text of course, but the layout of the book is as much an exercise in, and example of, design as the content inside. From chapter headers to the figure layout and captioning, the content works to blend form with function in a way that makes it obvious that this book is separate from most of the current texts on map making. This is definitely an example of practice what you preach.

The actual text may seem overly simplistic at first, especially if you are familiar with cartography texts by MacEachren, Kraak, and others; however, this is deceptive as the format and organization the authors chose allow the reader to get to the heart of the information in an informal yet effective style. In all honesty I was quite critical when I began the book but quickly came to enjoy the book because of its minimal text and graphical approach to the subject matter.

Overall, Making Maps will make a strong textbook for digital cartography classes and a useful text for those of us who have been struggling with map design for representing our analyses. Even seasoned GIS professionals and cartographers will find useful information and design tips in the book. It is almost worth picking up for the glowing cover blurb that Anne Knowles provides alone. The one wish that I have is that it would be great to have a companion CD or website for the book, which could present interactive examples and more examples in color.

OGC requesting public comment on geospatial Web Processing Service specification

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is requesting public comment on a candidate specification for a geospatial Web Processing Service. This specification was developed to provide a standardized interface for accessing and publishing geospatial processes, which include any calculation or operation which utilizes spatially referenced data.
Comments can be submitted via the OGC website, and the comment period ends on February 4, 2006.

Via GISCafe

National Geographic Award in Mapping

Undergraduates and Master’s degree students are eligible to apply for the National Geographic Award in Mapping, which consists of a prize of $1200 and National Geographic map products for the winner. The award is administered through the Cartography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers, but you do not need to be a member of the AAG to apply. The requirements include a statement about your educational goals, an example of a recent mapping project you have done, and a letter from your instructor or advisor. The postmark deadline for entries is January 27, 2006. For more information and the address to send entries, see the National Geographic website So, if you’re eligible, go ahead and apply, or pass this info on to anyone you know who might be interested.


GEwarI haven’t taken more than a cursory glance, but this is a link to the Google Earth War game. Looks fun if you don’t have people giving you significant looks reagrding your disseration stuff. Take a look if you have time and are so inclined.