2017 SCGIS 20th Annual Conference

Jul 16, 2017 to Jul 19, 2017, Asilomar Conference Center, Monterey CA

Pre-Conference workshops: Sunday July 16, 2017

Maps For Advocacy

Maps for advocacy speakers

Jim Meacham, Alex Tait, and Jeff Howarth

Executive Director of the InfoGraphics Lab at the University of Oregon, The Geographer in the Centers of Excellence at the National Geographic Society, & Professor of Geography at Middlebury College

Invited Cartographic Experts

Three national experts in cartography and the use of maps for conservation advocacy and storytelling will engage in the activities listed below. 

Jeff Howarth :   Jeff is a Professor of Geography at Middlebury College, where he teaches courses in GIS and Cartography.  His research focuses on how information design affects learning with a focus on practice-based approaches to teaching spatial analysis and cartographic design. He became a geographer after many years of field work in biology, geomorphology, history, and reserve stewardship, when he discovered maps as key enablers of interdisciplinary inquiry and reserve management. His cartographic work aims to integrate human and natural history and promote dialogues between academics and practitioners. 

Jim Mecham :  Jim is a Senior Research Associate, and the Executive Director and co-founder of the InfoGraphics Lab in the University of Oregon’s Department of Geography. He received his MA in Geography at the UO. Jim is a past president of North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) and is a current member of the Oregon Geographic Names Board. His interests include map and atlas design, and data visualization. He is a co-author on the Atlas of Yellowstone, the Archaeology and Landscape in the Mongolian Altai: An Atlas and the Atlas of Oregon publications. He teaches map design and production. Jim’s current atlas projects include the creation of the Atlas of Wildlife Migration: Wyoming’s Ungulates with the Wyoming Migration Initiative.

Alex Tait :  Alex currently holds the position of The Geographer in the Centers of Excellence at the National Geographic Society. He heads the Map Policy Committee that determines geopolitical guidance for the Society and he is leading the development of mapping and GIS resources in the new Centers of Excellence. He provides mapping and geography expertise for the Society’s research initiatives, including the Pristine Seas and Okavango Wilderness Projects, and for the Society’s geographic education programs.
Prior to working at National Geographic, Alex was Chief Cartographer and Vice President at International Mapping Associates in Ellicott City, Md. He created maps and directed cartographic project for the National Park Service, the Census Bureau, and other government agencies. He participated in international land and maritime boundary dispute cases before the world courts. For maritime boundaries, he assisted legal teams in the geographic interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Alex has also worked as a Cartographer at the Washington Post and a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Maryland.
Alex has a B.A. in Geography from Dartmouth College and an M.S. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin. He is a co-author of the Census Atlas of the United States that earned a Globe Book award for public understanding of Geography from the Association of American Geographers. His maps have been published in National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, and Outside magazines. Alex is a member and past-president of the North American Cartographic Information Society and a member of the Association of American Geographers.

Marty Schnure will be facilitating the following events for SCGIS and is the co-founder of Maps for Good and Cartographic Designer for The Wilderness Society.

Panel Discussion

We will hold a panel discussion session called "Maps for Advocacy" where our cartographic experts listed above will share their strategies and methods for making maps that tell rich conservation stories and inspire people to act.  We encourage you all to participate and bring your own recommendations to share about how you have created maps that make a different to your conservation mission.

Map Competition

A map competition is added to our 2017 Map Gallery.  This will be a formal competition called "Mapping for Advocacy" and you will be judged on 2 submissions: First, you will submit your map which may take the form of a static map, map application, dynamic map (such as a storymap) or website.  Second, you will submit an essay (one page maximum) where you will tell the story of that effort and, in particular, describe the impact it has had, or alternatively describe the design and artistic decisions you made in creating it and the viewer reaction you were trying to elicit with it.  Your score will be based 50-50 on these 2 submissions.  Winners will get a certificate called the "SCGIS Cartographic Impact Award" and there will be 3 categories: Best Design, Greatest Impact, and a Grand Prize winner.   Maps may still be submitted to the gallery for display without being entered into the contest.

To submit your map and essay to the contest, please email your content to conference@scgis.org with subject "Mapping for Advocacy."


Links to the following maps will be coming soon!

1. The Future of Patagonia National Park - a bilingual map and guide. Map Front. Map Back.  Essay

2. The Land Protection History of The Nature Conservancy in New York. Map. Essay

3. Zonification of Palau Banyak, Aceh, Singkil. Map. Essay

4. Coral Bleaching in Tobago. Map. Essay


If you would like ESRI to print your map instead of bringing it yourself, please visit the map gallery page and submit it there as well.  

Map Doctor’s Office

Would you like custom advise on one of your map products? We will host a new "Doctor's Office" during our traditional map gallery evening reception.  Our cartographic design experts—Alex Tait, Jim Meacham, Jeff Howarth, and Marty Schnure—will be on hand to examine and critique any maps or apps you would like to share. They will answer your questions, offer tips about how to improve your map to make your compositions more impactful and memorable. One-on-one appointments of 15 minutes each are available for the first sixteen people who sign up. Signups are open to SCGIS members first. Any slots remaining two weeks prior to the conference will be open to members and non-members alike. If you reserve a spot, please come to your appointment a few minutes early with your map in hand (on paper or on a device) and with specific questions to ask. Email conference@scgis.org with subject "Doctor's Office" to sign up for a time slot.

New SCGIS Web Page

A new section of SCGIS.ORG will be devoted to "Mapping for Advocacy" where all of the events above will be documented and presented as well as other resources, lectures and examples of impactful conservation maps of the past and how they were created. 




To register for an SCGIS membership account, please use the button below