Jump to content

 
Photo

NACIS 2006 review


  • Please log in to reply
66 replies to this topic

#16
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

Hugo,

Yes, I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill a bit, as I am only talking about a small group of individuals within the overall body of attendees. Sorry about that. :( It's a hot-button issue for me though...and hard for me to not react to it. I have either witnessed or been on the receiving end of people being unnecessarily rude/mean towards one another in/around higher education for 17+ years now. My staff and I took a BEATING during the 8.5 years I worked in higher ed before starting my business, and I am afraid that it is a "scar" that I still struggle to overcome, even 7-8 years removed from direct employment in education. Both my parents were teachers, so I got to hear about "the other side of the coin" on these issues every day growing up as well.

I guess for me (related to my earlier '06 comments), I was thinking of things from a presenter point of view. You've spent several days preparing your materials without compensation (time away from your work and/or family), checking your presentation related to accuracy, technology and what-not, you're a bit nervous speaking in front of a group of 100+ individuals.....and then you have a few audience members "scolding" you because the lights are too dim, they couldn't always hear questions posed by other audience members, you incorrectly compared a native African fruit species to a banana (which had nothing to do with your session other than serving as casual window-dressing), etc., etc. Maybe it's not what a few conference attendees said, but rather the way they said it? As many people know, public speaking is not an easy thing. Consequently, I always do my best to smile at the presenter whenever they make eye contact with me, ask POSITIVE questions about their assertions (instead of tearing-down their arguments) or at least package comments as "constructive criticism", tell them "nice job" after their session has concluded, etc.

People were very nice to me during and after my PCD session, a great experience! However, the tone of the sessions seemed to shift a bit on Thursday and Friday, with more "glass is half empty" types of comments being directed at presenters/moderators. That type of thing honestly makes me upset, since I know how hard it is to be the one up there standing at the podium!

Sorry to de-rail this thread, everyone! I didn't expect that my quick and somewhat light-hearted initial observations from NACIS 2006 would get us off-track related to a discussion of 2007. I'll absolutely be at NACIS 2007 if I can be next fall! Great group of people....no doubt!
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#17
Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

    Hall of Fame

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon
  • Interests:Playing in the mountains and rivers.
  • United States

I thoroughly enjoyed this NACIS. It was my third and while I have been aware of the egosntricism of the academic crowd (both parents were profs) and (what I heard to be aptly described as) "lone wolf cartographers," it didn't really bend my nose too much. In the Hindu view, our individual egos are like islands in a sea: We look out at the world and each other and think we are separate entities. What we don't see is that we are connected to each other by means of the ocean floor beneath the waters.

There is nothing more humbling than having the NACIS crowd dissect your map such as the Map-Off provided, and I very much encourage everyone to participate in the Map-off next year. Especially those who have enlarged egos and think they are too good for it.

I really enjoyed meeting Cartotalk folks and seeing how nice many of you are. Madison was a great location - I hope I can make it to Frontenac.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#18
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

There is nothing more humbling than having the NACIS crowd dissect your map such as the Map-Off provided, and I very much encourage everyone to participate in the Map-off next year. Especially those who have enlarged egos and think they are too good for it.


Absolutely! B) What a wonderful opportunity to have people thoroughly dissect one's work and/or "walk" one's "talk"! I only wish that more individuals would have submitted entries this year....as one of the things I found to be most interesting was the wide diversity in the styles of images that were created. Hans' very accurate and detailed image, my "Alien Cow" and more youth/family-oriented design, the county shaped like a piece of cheese (with the "golden cow") and the "wine country" design. It was fascinating to see the different solutions that people came up with....and elements of all four entries, when combined in the right way, would probably make for the best overall project. I know I personally would have love to "borrow" ideas that the other three designers introduced after seeing everyone's work.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#19
Mike H

Mike H

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 168 posts
  • Location:State College, PA
  • United States

I only wish that more individuals would have submitted entries this year...



Actually, the map-off is limited to 4 entries. Otherwise we would spend all night sorting thru the nuances of design.... those who want to participate in St Louis can contact the map-off organizers, and/or the organizers may contact members and ask if they are up for the challenge. Usually we don't put that together until about a month before, given that some folks are simply too busy to participate.

This years venue changed a bit, where each table was asked to participate based on the reaction of a single descriptive word, such as 'clear'. In years past, a panel of four judges reviewed each map and comments were not solicited from the audience until the end.

For those of you who have experienced both formats, I'm interested if you have a preference, or another tangent alltogether.

m.
Michael Hermann
mike [at] purplelizard.com


www.purplelizard.com

#20
Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

    Hall of Fame

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon
  • Interests:Playing in the mountains and rivers.
  • United States

I would welcome more entries - as Derek mentioned, the variety of solutions were great to see.

I think keeping the subject somewhat geographically tied to the location added a nice flavor (if we do NACIS in Portland, OR in '08 we could map microbreweries - the sponsorship alone would be worth it!).

I really enjoyed hearing from a large variety of people - so I would vote in favor of mass judging. I also really enjoyed sitting at the table and being an anonymous participant. Keeping the whole thing anonymous (only exposing onself if desired) would be an interesting twist and would encourage greater participation.

I also think that maps can be powerful and that it would be great to see a topic that desperately needed to get a message out or a story told. It would involve more work to find a deserving topic - but would put a nice face on NACIS and could be a map theat makes the front page of the local paper.
__
Herm - days before the Map-Off I looked at the map and thought that someone would think it looked like moldy cheese too!

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#21
ELeFevre

ELeFevre

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,049 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Louisville, Colorado USA
  • Interests:Cartography, musical instruments, reading, hiking, craft beer
  • United States

Any chance the map-off participants could post their maps in the gallery? All this talk about moldy cheese has peaked my interest. It would also be great to see a few presentations from the conference. Are they going to be posted on the NACIS website?

I didn't have the opportunity to go this year, but I did make it last year. The coming together of academic and production cartographers made the conference interesting and fun. I doubt that any of my cartography profs could design a map if their life depended on it, but they were all excellent teachers and advisors. Your always going to have one or two individuals who you seem arrogant. If they are, it's probably because they have been treated like rock-stars by the rest of us. Not to mention sometimes people say things they don't mean to say (especially in the company of strangers)... or they are just taken the wrong way. Half of the people on the board assumed I was woman for over a year. Some still do.

I agree with cartomat that the map-off should be mass-judged.

Here's to next year....cheers!



#22
Martin Gamache

Martin Gamache

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington DC
  • Interests:History of Topographic Cartography
    Topographic Mapping
    History of Relief Depiction
    Thematic Cartography
    Demographic Cartography
    Cartographic techniques, methods, and tools
    Orienteering
    Panoramic & Kite Photography
  • United States

As someone who has been involved in 3 of the last 4 mapoffs I can tell you it is very challenging to find people to participate. Although I do not recall a four "contestant" limit and would agree that more would be desirable (each year is different) it has been hard to find four participants each year and was also difficult to find judges in years past.


Personally I enjoy all aspects of the NACIS from the snooty professors to the government bureaucrats to the map librarians and the rest of us. It's great to hear so many view points and when someone is taking themselves too seriously I just laugh. i'll echo other comments already made by saying that with each passing year I find the networking and conversations I have are more interesting than most session I attend. It use to be that I tried to attend as many as possible. Organising events also takes its toll and decreases my attention span to the point where networking is all I can do.


Fact is all of us who help put these conferences together love to hear feedback and want to be responsive, so please let us know either through cartotalk or via personal emails what you liked and what you'd like to see different and PLEASE feel free to volunteer or help to organise a session or an activity next year if you would like to see something different. It is a very rewarding experience.

I'll be helping run PCD (with Nathaniel Kelso) again and I will be happy to work with anyone to help make it even more successful.

#23
margaret

margaret

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • United States

Derek,

How does that reflect on NACIS as an association and/or organization wishing to recruit new members in order to grow and prosper over the long-term? That's all I was meaning to imply. As a relative "outsider", hearing/seeing those types of comments throughout the conference did not reflect positively on the Society.

That's not me saying that any particular individual is/was "elitist" or "condescending"! That's just how it "felt" as an audience member hearing other audience member comments at several of the sessions. No more, no less.....and certainly not me trying to pass judgment upon any particular individuals.


Okay, thanks for explaining, though it makes me a bit sad that overheard conversations are reflecting badly on the Society. But perhaps it can be fixed.

My first Nacis conference was St. Paul and I was in grad school. I was so frightened that I spent the entire conference in my hotel room reading a Wallace Stegner novel.

marg

p.s. re: Map-Off, Nat and I are putting a thing together for the Nacis website so everybody can geek out over the maps and comments and backstory there.

#24
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,083 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

"Anyone using the Arial typeface does not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with the phrase "imaginative." An academic who likely has never had any formal training in typography commenting on Map #2 of the MapOff


I believe what I said was "Hmmm....elegant? Well, this one is all in Arial, which I don't usually use in the same sentence with 'elegant'."

My table's assignment was to talk about in what ways the entries were elegant--not whether they were clear, readable, eloquent or functional, and certainly not whether the entrants were imaginative or talented or hardworking. The whole point of Map-Off is to talk about map design, without pulling punches or mincing words.

I'm not an academic. I've been studying (and setting and specifying) typography since 1973. I'll stand by my opinion of Arial.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#25
natcase

natcase

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Interests:cartography
    aeshetics
    cartographic design
    John Bartholomew
    road maps
    large-scale mapping
  • United States

I had a great time at NACIS. Hands-down my favorite of the 4 or 5 I've been to.

Any chance the map-off participants could post their maps in the gallery? All this talk about moldy cheese has peaked my interest. It would also be great to see a few presentations from the conference. Are they going to be posted on the NACIS website?

We're working on it. Probably within a week. Hang tight.

I agree with cartomat that the map-off should be mass-judged.

Margaret and I came up with this format as a way of dispersing commentary out into the room; previous map-offs have featured a panel of "judges." I'd love to find a way to focus each table more (that was the idea this time, but many tables ended up with essentially general critiques. Well, that's for next year's map-off organizers to do.

Re local subject matter: That was icing on the cake. Margaret's rallying cry was audience participation, and mine was "real world contaxt." I wanted something where a non-mapmaker "client" could offer commentary. I had one good comment from one of the contestants suggesting we find a real-world client who is maybe more desperately deserving of a free pro bono project. It's certainly worth considering, though most of us don't have pro bono projects as a central part of our work-life.


Re arrogance: I can see where Derek's coming from, but I'd counter that (1) it's pretty cool we actually care about this stuff enough to get het up about it. In the broader commercial world, there's a lot of "if it sells, it's good," and I really appreciate the leve of impassionedness (which, yes, does sometimes come off as arrogance). and (2) echoing what someone said earlier, we are coming from a wide variety of professional cultures, and we carry our "local" battles in with us. I hear Dennis on Arial; it and Helvetica are perfectly nice fonts (I use them both from time to time) but when dealing with products submitted by people forced to make design decisions with no experience, training or really much more than a software instruction manual, there comes apoint at which the most rational among us will snap and begin throwing little bits of Zapf Chancery around the room while reciting the complete lyrics to "Bohemian Rhapsody." I think Dennis is a remarkable example of restraint.

Frankly, I enjoy watching the ontology battles (and in a limited way participating in them). Denis Wood, Mark Denil and Dan Strebe in the same room is better than the 4th of July. And if you listen to all of them, there's a lot of really interesting ideas amongst them about just what the heck all of us are actually doing...

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#26
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

Regarding the map-off - I really liked that! It was good that it was a real world challenge, and that the 'client' was there (and was commenting).

I think it would be fun with a more challenging task though, that would challenge the participants to use some more innovative solutions - that would make them differ more (now they were, in a way, quite similar). Maybe some tri-variate thematic maps with a time series... ? :)

Herm -- sorry but I have no re-collection of talking to you... I think it might be more an effect of the drinks than the hour for me... (someone must have drugged me!)
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#27
Geographic Techniques

Geographic Techniques

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts
  • Location:Mount Horeb, WI
  • United States

I thought the sessions, both Thursday and Friday, were great. Being my first time at the meeting (I generally balk at conventions) it was far above my expectations. It was nice meeting many of you, and I certainly wish I had the chance meeting more. Sounds like much of the socializing went on during the evening (and latenight) activities and, unfortunately, I couldn't make any of those events...and not just because I was nearly brain dead by the end of the day. Hopefully next time!

Anyway, did anyone make the Wad'ya Know show on Saturday? Just curious if anybody got picked on and what Michael Feldman might have said about the lot of cartographers in the group.

Or, I'll just wait to hear it on the radio...

Doug
Douglas Norgord, Geographic Techniques
www.geotechmap.com

#28
Matthew Hampton

Matthew Hampton

    Hall of Fame

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,309 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portland, Oregon
  • Interests:Playing in the mountains and rivers.
  • United States

All this talk about moldy cheese has peaked my interest.



This referred to some NLCD (land cover) data uopn which I executed some Photohshop filters (blur, watercolor, etc.), and since the subject was cheese and the landscape had disparate patches of tree canopy in the West... :rolleyes:

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#29
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,308 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

and to add - about the moldy cheese - even if the audience was not too entusiastic about the background - I felt that your map was the one that the "client" (lady from the wi cheese ass.) liked the best.

One thing I really liked was the geopardy too, that was great!
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#30
ELeFevre

ELeFevre

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,049 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Louisville, Colorado USA
  • Interests:Cartography, musical instruments, reading, hiking, craft beer
  • United States

and to add - about the moldy cheese - even if the audience was not too entusiastic about the background - I felt that your map was the one that the "client" (lady from the wi cheese ass.) liked the best.

One thing I really liked was the geopardy too, that was great!





Cheese ass? Is that a town? :)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->